I grew up learning about colours and the importance of not mixing them to form other hues. That process of creativity was reserved for the power that dictated democracy.
But the carriage plundering the alleys of forgotten villages reeked of a philosophy termed modernity, which was laden with concepts such as emancipation, economic growth and dignity. The villagers yearned to pursue the meaning of these laborious words and deserted their fields to purchase tomes burdened with definitions defining contemporary vagueness. The smell of soil lingering in farmers’ caps recoiled from these books, in which resided a verdict usurping ploughed lands. The shy snails and lizards hidden behind rubble walls feared us.
Awareness of our development was calculated by subtracting the years left for us to assume responsibility. As we aged, other colours emerged and defined their existence as a resistance to vertigo which lured the masses to seek valleys which alleviated their fears. The subservient populace speculated about the dangers of dissecting colours and adhered to a single shade, confirming an allegiance which flourished during the spaced routine of shameless democracy.
Exercises of separating history from present circumstances were parallel to stagnating in memories. Faces peered from massive billboards, either smiling or pondering the passing pedestrians. Emblazoned beneath the portraits streamed the rhetoric posing as metaphorical speech to create an illusion hovering between intellect and presumptuous rebellion.
My favourite strolls took me to the village squares, where benches staggered under the weight of old people brimming with memories of turbulent times and experiences which reeked of colonialism and upheaval. The servitude of our nation was mingled with resentment and appreciation. When I listened to the narrations, images of uniforms, pale faces and enforced humility sprang to life. Echoes of labourers toiling in fields conflagrated in the spectres of abodes demolished by the war.
I listened to hunger and poverty lisping the suffering of families in an elegy of tattered clothes. My age counted the crumbs of bread carelessly brushed off the table to be swept away. The child hibernating inside me thought of saving the baked dough to feed the sparrows hopping on the windowsill.
Weeks ago, I read the proclamations of colours vying to confuse and convince. Many villagers expressed the need of consulting dictionaries to discern the meaning of words which were given a new eloquence with every democratic exercise. The magnified surnames sharing a common culture with the insignificant masses looked down from their pedestals at us; fossilised specks on an ordinary tile. Our astonishment ventured to peer at the surrounding pristine tiles. The adjoining boundaries were threatening to limit our movement.