Wednesday, August 17, 2011
TGIF #4: Seasons
Growing up in India, especially South India and more specifically Chennai, one would be aware of a single climatic condition: Hot. As the joke goes, Chennai has only 3 seasons – Hot, Hotter, and Hottest! Okay it rains sometime in-between, a keenly observant eye might notice fresh new growth sprouting after the rains and maybe December nights have a slight nip in the air. But apart from that, the weather is generally nearly the same throughout the year, although the mercury does soar to unbearable heights during April/May.
Coming from such a backdrop, I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to experience the different seasons first-hand during my travels. The melting snow and impatient plants that push their way out and pop up eagerly herald the arrival of Spring. Everyone is relieved that Winter is finally over even though Spring also brings with it a lot of seasonal allergies and very slippery pavements!
When I used to read in books something like, “It was a clear summer day and the sun was shining down brightly, with not a cloud in the blue sky. It was such a fine day for a picnic.”, I always used to wonder how can such a day possibly be a nice day? Because in my experience, such a day is almost always sweltering and humid and sticky and plain irritating! But then I actually realized how lovely Summer days are in some other countries which experience the full gamut of seasons. Everything is so bright, sparkly and cheery that it is almost impossible to feel gloomy and you can’t help but skip along merrily humming a happy tune to yourself!
And then Autumn comes calling with a plethora of big, fat pumpkins and luscious, juicy apples! This is by far my favourite time of the year (and mind you, I don’t even like apples!). I know that Fall officially signals the end of life and most of the vegetation is shedding leaves and preparing for the bitter winter to descend on them, but somehow I love Autumn. The sun shines down so brightly that if you were indoors you might be fooled into thinking that it is actually warm outside! But no! There is a crisp and chilly wind playing with my hair but it is not freezing cold as Winter. It is as if Nature, in a wildly passionate moment, whipped out her palette and starting splashing the Earth randomly with every colour imaginable! Deep red, rich gold, striking orange, glowing bronze, shocking scarlet – the world seems simply ablaze with colour that it compels you to pause for a moment and just take it all in. How can anyone not like Fall?! The only people I can imagine are the sweepers and cleaners as they might have to end up sweeping away a lot of falling leaves!
It makes roads treacherous, people just never want to leave their warm beds and go out for anything and even if they do, they end up getting stuck in snow. But none of this can ever take away the awe and amazement that would fill every South Indian who witness his/her first snowfall in Winter. Everything is going along jolly well and one fine day you look out the window, only to find the entire landscape magically transformed as if by the sugar fairy! All the griminess and grubbiness is artfully covered up and it is surprising that a landscape solely having shades of just two colours, black and white can be so breathtakingly beautiful. The whole place seems like one gigantic iced cake that it is almost surreal. Watching the softly falling snowflakes twirling to the ground so silently fills be with wonder and to think that no two snowflakes are exactly alike, my God! Isn’t that simply mind-blowing?! If instead of gentle snowflakes, you happen to have a snow storm raging outside with the wind howling outrageously through every nook and cranny making your teeth chatter uncontrollably and giving you shivers up and down your spine, well what better time than now to snuggle up with a steaming bowl of chicken soup and an interesting book or with your better half, whichever you prefer!
And then the whole cycle repeats itself like clockwork. I know that there are many people who don’t like routines. But strangely, I happen to like routines. I like it that there is a particular order to my day and thereby my Life itself. I like it that I am aware of what is going to happen next and that I know what I am supposed to be doing at a particular point of time. Although I would be the first to admit that Life is what happens when one is busy planning for it, I am content with atleast having the illusion that perhaps I am in control of my Life, however slight it may be. Yes I do appreciate a break in the monotony now and then, but broadly speaking, never changing and constant routines make me feel safe, even though I aware that it may well be a false sense of security. I feel that the Seasons serve to remind me that there is indeed a pattern to be followed. That if Autumn comes then so will Winter and no matter how much inches of snow your car is buried under, eventually Spring will melt all that away and the sun will start shining again to bring you new life. It is an eternal cycle or circle if you wish, of Life and it fills me with quintessential hope and faith.
And therefore, this Friday, I thank God for all the beautiful Seasons that choose to grace this wonderful world.
So what's your favourite season?
Image Courtesy: Dreamstime