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Archive for July, 2009

A Season, again

Here’s something I stumbled upon in my old book. Reading it makes me doubt whether I’ve progressed at all, if not regressed, as far as my short-story writing abilities are concerned.


It’s 11 in the night, and the mist that’ll hang about in the morning tomorrow is still high up in the sky, blocking out the stars. The city lights reflecting off this low cloud cover has given the sky an orange tinge.. a stifled, stuffy feel. These are probably the last days of winter and after this begins a new cycle. Most things continue onto this new cycle, and every other cycle that will follow it but for some things, this winter is the last.

In this peaceful neighbourhood, where the promise of money hasn’t touched any street to arcades, where the houses are still homes that people live in and not leased out offices; in this neighbourhood one can still afford to take a stroll. The roads are rough but clean. The footpath maybe missing at points, but it still faithfully follows the road. And the tress.. silently standing guard to the metalled arteries. Whoever planned this neighbourhood didn’t plan very well, as is evident by the varied assortment of trees. So you have a flame of the forest competing with the purple jacaranda while the yellow powdered copper-pod stands somberly, looking queerly out of place. Bright, gay Tabebuias arch lazily across the community park and stare in indignation at the coconut trees that proudly stand tall. But these are the minor trees.. the ones that merely line the roads. They flower in spring, shed their leaves in fall and grow new ones, repeating this cycle over and over. There are however, sentinels that are evergreen. These huge and majestic trees cover every home here, stand at every corner and at every turn. Yet they cannot be noticed. It’s probably cause they’re so old and have been around for so many hundred years that people fail to see them. Oh, but they’re there. Let one be cut or uprooted and  then the loss is felt. Ironic, that we need to lose something to realise its worth.

But on this winter’s night, all the trees are asleep. It’s neither autumn nor spring nor summer, and the trees are all waiting for the start of a new cycle. Behind the clouds the stars may twinkle, but there’s no way of knowing. Orion may have come up in the sky and the Ursa major spanning the horizon, but i shall never know. The deep blue darkness of the sky is missing too, but above the clouds i know it stretches unnervingly, with its sharpness and clarity. The wind is missing too. In the summer, it carries the leaves and the dust, making a fanfare of its motion. Never hot, the breeze flows in great volumes, never quite fast. Perhaps she rests in the afternoons, but its only a pause. Summer is one big movement of cool mountain wind down to the hot plains. The monsoon winds, on the other hand, aren’t quite as modest. They ride abreast the precipitation clouds, bending trees and causing water to be carried within. It gushes all day, seemingly indefatigable. By far, the winter wind is however, the quietest. It cannot be seen as it carries with it neither leaves nor dust; cannot be heard cause it doesn’t rush through the trees. It flows both in volume and speed and yet is imperceptible. You can feel the cold however, that flows into your lungs and spreads through it a chillness. The first breath of air that catches your throat is the day winter arrives.


But today, it is leaving. The lands are paused, like the trees. That pregnant gap between the end of a season and the start of another. Perhaps tomorrow, the new cycle begins, perhaps the day after. But it will, and then once again the wheels shall move.

I return to the house that was my home for so long with its cold marble tiles, bare without the furniture the movers have taken away. Eerie and still, it too awaits a new cycle. But for me, my tryst with it has ended. The trees and the wind will eternally have their cycles, alas, but for life that doesn’t gift eternal youth.



A sense of loss

Summer is a strange season. After 6 months of cold and almost nill outdoor activities, summer arrives and hands to you all the time in the world. The sun sets at 9, and each stretched hour of daylight seems intended only to be spent outdoors. The days start early, the birds making it earlier still. Many a late nights I’ve wondered what excites these feathered beasts to chirp so happily at the forsaken hour before dawn. Then one day I saw the dawn.. and the chirping made sense.

I haven’t been fortunate enough to have all my summer days to while away though, I do have to work. I’ve no regrets however and the occassional hours by the pond on a weekend make up for the hours spent indoors working. Even watching the wind and the clouds from through a window feels good. The trees are green, the wind is wholesome, the stream runs full and the clouds drift gently by. Afternoon smell of cookouts, picnics and maybe an ice cream or two. As evening approaches, frisbess fly wild and free, eventually followed by fireflies that slowly simmer from the ground into the long dusk that follows. The occasional thunderstorms quench such a yearning in your heart, by just listening to the thunder and watching the rain pelt down on the green surroundings around you. This is of course, an american summer. We don’t appreciate summer as much in India; a) cause its warm all year round and you can do what you please; b) summer’s hot and dry, and we’d rather wait for monsoons.


What joy, in being able to breath freely the air, to walk in meadows with cows for company and to watch the slow spectacle of the sun setting. This is only topped by being able to bike anywhere you please and being greeted by a verdant scene at every turn you take. What a wonderful season. Our days are packed with sunlight and a spirit of adventure.. be it while biking, trekking, boating or just being outdoors. And as it is with any gift in life that overwhelms you, summer brings to me a sense of loss. A sense that the days are passing by too quick, that the hours are melting away, and that the minute remains unfulfilled. A sense that I cannot hold time. But of course, nature never meant it for time to stay. Last I knew, she was a stickler for the cycle go on and on. Summer shall pass, the glorious evenings shall make way to the crisp dusk of autumn. A white, frosty winter and a cold spring shall make appearances before summer can come again. I know. But I still wish I could enjoy each minute of this glorious season a little more. Every unseized moment seems to me a terrible loss. But maybe that will change. Maybe, before the season’s end an ordinary evening stroll shall allow me to make peace with summer’s departure. Like Thoreau had said “..till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, so warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn.” Oops, summer :).