In the East, things change very slowly, especially in the life of the country village. The Indian farmer today uses the same kind of ploughs and carts and methods that his forefather used hundreds of years ago, and the potter turns the same old fashioned wheel.
“So India keeps her old-world past;
What first she was, she is at last,
The ancient ways remain;
As in old-days, so is it now-
the same old wheel, the same old plough,
The same old bullock wain.”
The Indian bullock-cart is a heavy, clumsy thing. It is made all of the wood, with thick, lumbering wooden wheels without any springs. We see it, loaded with bhoosa, or sugar cane, or corn, drawn by two patient white bullocks, crawling slowly along the road. Its wheels creak as it jolts over the ruts, and lumbers heavily along. The farmer, who drives it, sits on the pole in front or on the top of the load, half-asleep. Now and wakes up to curse the bullocks, or prod them with his stick, or twist their tails. But neither he nor his bullocks a hurry.
One day I was watching one of these old carts lumbering along the road when I heard a loud humming noise in the sky I looked up, and there was an aeroplane, high up, flying along It hummed like a great bee, and glittered in the sunlight like a dragonfly. It was flying very quickly-I dare say it was going at the rate of eighty miles an hour. And it looked a very beautiful and strong thing. At last, it passed out of sight; but for some time I could still hear its hum, growing fainter and fainter, till it was gone.
What a contrast between that swift, beautiful thing, flying in the sky like a bird, and the slow, clumsy, old-fashioned bullock-cart on the road below. In India, we often see these contrasts, between the slow, old-fashioned East, and the swift, new ways of the West.