In the sleepy village where I grew up there were interesting characters residing there also. Although we had our ethnic differences, but we lived together as such in a close-knit community. We had in the village, a variety of absorbing personalities that coloured the landscape. We were in a very rural part at the immediate foothills of the Northern Range in the East-West Corridor of our country. Shockingly close to our homes were the cane fields of the conglomerate Tate & Lyle out of good old mother England. There were in the village those that worked in the cane fields, and these were the times when they reaped the cane stalks after beautiful fires were lit. I can still hear the roar of the flames as they sped on down-wind through the fields. Then came the time of merriment according to our village standards. There on the village green was played an intense battle of wits with some opposing side for supremacy. There was one fellow however who had a strange stance while batting, a sort of crouch, almost stooping down. It was rumoured that he was afraid of bouncers, as he was an astute short in stature batsman and was reluctant to be out. The opposition whether fellow villagers or from the outside repeatedly sent down bouncers at him in an effort to dig him out. It was very hard to dislodge him. About three houses north of us resided an elderly gentleman who had a joke for every and any situation. I can see him in my mind's eye observing us one day as children playing cricket. We had lit a fire in the high grass to enable us to find the ball with ease. He came up to us and watched us for sometime, then asked us who lit the fire. We said we didn't know and he replied maybe it was the cricketers. Then every village had a drunk whose antics would amuse us as children. Our own alcoholic was not so amusing, for he disrupted our sleepy village life. His high jinks were usually heard from about 01:00 or 02:00am. You could hear him from the top of our road about a 1/4 mile away as he staggered his way home. He would solicit fights from anyone he had a beef with. On the way down the street the village men who were just as foolish as he was always would pounce on him and beat him to a pulp. Sometimes he would come home quietly and begin beating the living daylights out of his family. They would run next door at us for rescue, for he respected my father so he did not follow the seven children and their mother. Because it was in our village those many years ago that this little short man could get away with such atrocities and physical abuse to his family. The mental agony that he perpetrated on his family was one that had deep effect on all of them. He the father committed suicide, one brother stabbed and killed another in a drunken rage. A sister was mangled by cars as she tried to cross the highway in an inebriated state. Another brother very drunk was dragged by a car about a 1/4 mile and left dead at the side of the road. The last brother died of fits from his endless bouts of drinking.
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