Five Season’s of Beauty!

There are different ways of naming seasons, people, trees. Seasons in India are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. People are described by their heights, their likes and dislikes. Some are coffee folks, and others are tea folks. Some are beer guys or wine folks. Some love whiskey and others like their Vodka or Rum! Some are morning types, and others are night owls! Trees are classified as coniferous, perennial, shady and so on. My favourite method of differentiation of people is based on the seasons they like.

Seasons based on Calendar are winter, spring, summer and autumn; in tropical areas, the seasons are only two, wet and dry seasons. But in India seasons are Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Monsoon season is very different in India. When did I really start understanding seasons? I was in school maybe 5th grade, and one day I needed an umbrella to go to school as I had exams on that day. Hence I needed to go to school. This thing had never happened before, so when it rained, I simply used to skip school if it rained heavily.

Names of seasons are also used to describe somethings in our life. Winter of discontent, there is a spring in his stride, are some of the terms come to mind. Summer of discontent is another term, that is used. What do these indicate? Winter of discontent indicates that bad days or times are at an end and they change for better, in the form as spring is coming soon! Summer of discontent is the term used when unhappiness or sadness of life is at the peak! Spring in stride indicates the fresh air or exuberance.  The reappearance of robins. The disappearing snow.  The longer hours of daylight. The emergence of flowers.

I started thinking in terms of Indian seasons, am I a summer guy or a monsoon guy or a winter guy. In India, the weather conditions are different in various parts, simply because of the hugeness of the country. In summer, we have temperatures nearing 50 deg C in certain areas to minus 10 deg C in cooler climates in winter. Monsoons can bring rains to the tune of 1200 cm in a season. Weather in the country can be moderate to extreme like human beings. Pune, where I normally live, is known for moderate weather, all the seasons are comfortable. Has that made people in Pune reasonable people? Does extremism or moderation in people happen because of the weather? I think it does. I am talking of general populace and not the wrong kind of people! The wrong kind of people is omnipresent where ever they want to be, irrespective of seasons or weather.

Summer, for me, is lovely Alphonso Mangoes, Sugarcane Juice, Raw Mango Panna a kind of home-made sherbet! In childhood, it also meant school holidays, round the day playing cricket, table tennis and badminton! I used to live in Mumbai in those days. Once in a while, there used to be a trip to relatives’ homes in Bombay or sometimes to Pune. That was the farthest we would travel in those days; there were no summer holiday trips to cooler climes. Those were outside means of our family. And did I enjoy my trip to Pune by train? Eating Batata Wada (a potato patty) at Karjat!  That used to be the high point of the journey! End of summer also meant excursion to markets with mom to get new school uniforms especially when I outgrew the older uniforms! Then, of course, there would be a trip to the stationery shop to buy new notebooks. Followed by a session of covering the notebooks with brown paper, followed by sticking the labels for the names! Of course, there used to an occasional day of punishment when we overdid things! There used to be pinching of small coins from home to drink ice cold lemon sherbet on the cricket ground.  But now in golden phase life, things have remained more or less the same but with one big difference. Diabetes makes things a little bit tricky for Mangoes and Sugar cane juice!

Monsoon in Mumbai and Pune are totally different. Most of the monsoon, one could manage without an umbrella in Pune! In Mumbai, many times, it hardly mattered whether you wore a raincoat or had an umbrella; you would get drenched. Weather in Pune in Monsoon would bring a bit of chill, but in Mumbai, you were not sure whether you got drenched in rain or sweat! In Mumbai, going to Marine drive to walk on the sea wall, with heavy rains lashing and sea waves crashing on the wall! Oh, what fun we had! Mumbai’s rain fury is seen to be believed! As the British say, it rains Dogs and Cats in Mumbai, sometimes. Though it is a bit difficult to handle, it should be enjoyed at least once. It should be added to your bucket list. One day, I had pinched some coins from home, and it was raining heavily. Heavy rains could sometimes create havoc in Mumbai. This was great opportunity to come home, from school,  ( we used to lie about lack of buses) walking in heavy rains and on the way, going to our favourite restaurant to eat a Dosa! That was the biggest heist in our lives!

Winter, of course, is a special season for Pune. Cool breeze, some mist, some fog, everybody going around in their woollens with seniors using mufflers and woollen caps! Drinking hot tea with Salty biscuits at the roadside kiosk was equivalent of reaching the heavens! In my younger days, Pune would almost shut down around 7 pm, like it happens in cold climates. I remember that my grandfather used to go to sleep at 7 pm! Going up the hills in winter was another of past time in Pune. In all my stay in Mumbai, I was required to wear a sweater maybe a few times but in Pune, for 2 ½ months sweater was a must!

Which is my favourite season? Cool climates are what I love the most, but then monsoon chill in Pune is also great fun and as the temperature doesn’t go down like in winter. Recently in Switzerland, we were caught in Bern, with reasonably cold weather accompanied by a light drizzle. We were geared for both rain and cold but found it very difficult to handle it!  That is when I realised that I love the dry cold and not wet cold! I love winters in Delhi too, but these days pollution has made things tough to enjoy. So finally, I am a winter guy, in hot countries!

Folks, there is one season that we forgot! Its season of love! Well, romantic love is what I am talking about. This is one season that never goes away, its beauty never feds!  It has its own low tides and high tides! All the things mentioned above, get turbocharged when you are in the love season! Seasons of nature and season of love merge. The season of love never changes into next season, but has its ups and downs! This has its highs and lows! But how many of us are lucky enough to have the season of love in life, throughout life? Season of love in life is a great elixir and is supported by small doses of nectar provided by the natural seasons! Let’s get a bit philosophical. Do you have five seasons in your life?

I will share with you a lovely Hindi film song. It talks of natural seasons and the season of Love! Enjoy!

पतझड- the Autumn Fallout!

पतझड is a Hindi word, which means falling of leaves from the trees in autumn, is a natural process which brings joy in autumn to our eyes, hibernation in winter and back to more joy in spring. Humans don’t hibernate like trees but reach a new phase in life! This season is aptly called Fall in English. The plants are preparing themselves for winter. The plants do not talk and think like humans, at least that is what I think! I am sure it must be a painful process for them but we are not able to understand their thoughts. But outwardly they don’t crib about it.  Just imagine our hair falling off every season and new crop growing after a few months! Ok we cut them regularly at different frequencies, ladies have their own frequency for managing their hair! To give an extreme example, we have seen people going through cancer treatment losing all their hair. They have a tough time handling the situation. The other day, I read a news item that a young person committed suicide as he had sudden hair fall for which there was no immediate medical cure! Why reactions are extreme, sometimes?

What do we learn from the plants? Autumn Fallout is a natural process and plantations take it in stride. Nature tells us to take things in stride! If we look at our life cycle, there are many changes happening in everybody, from childhood to adulthood, to mid age and finally, the golden age! In the childhood we do not really understand the changes. In the adulthood we start understanding changes but we are too busy to really notice them. In Mid age changes happen the we may not like but still we are too busy to bother about them. It is the golden age, post retirement, we have time to observe the changes. If we compare changes happening in childhood and in golden age, the golden age changes are much less but we have too much time on hand. So, we notice them more. In young age, changes in our height, weight, voice, the way look are quite predominant but we don’t worry about them. We must learn to take changes in the golden period in the same way! Is it because we think of the death in this period? Is that the reason we are more worried about even small change in us, during this phase of life?

We forget that nature shows us the way for everything but we tend to adopt them selectively. Autumn fall, is process which repeats every year in trees; similarly, women’s monthly cycles also happen every month. Don’t they take this in stride? Why do we not take the process of merging with the universe in stride? Why don’t we take ageing in stride? Birth and Death are two sides of the same coin. If the humans manage to handle these smoothly, there will be joy in the golden phase too.

Almost 15 years back, we had a reunion of our school Alumni in Bombay. I met some of the friends, after 40 years. But what fun we had! There were the usual changes in everybody; some had become fat and some had become thin; some did not change at all. There were different “hair styles” on view, thanks to the nature! A few had become bald, some had thin receding hairline, some had thick mop of salt and pepper hair. Some of course had white hair! But almost all the ladies had black hair. I jokingly told one of my friends that it looks like ladies have not become old! My friend Mangal entered, she looked at me for a moment then she was very happy when she recognized me with a mop of white hair; by the way, I describe my hair colour as “Silver Blonde”! She said, “Pramod, how can you move around with all white hair?” I said, ” Mangal, I know that you also have mostly white hair but you prefer to dye them black”! Nothing wrong in that. I told her that I stopped dyeing my hair the year my grandson was born!

Per say nothing wrong in trying look younger by dyeing your hair! But I also feel that there is nothing wrong in accepting that you are reaching the golden period of your life. A friend met me recently and said, ” Pramod, now I have entered a bad phase in my life!” I said, “What happened?” He said, “I am now required to take medicines for diabetes!” We all have some indifferent health conditions at different times. This is a natural process; some are lucky that they reach this stage quite late in life, some have to handle these things from childhood! Acceptance of things beyond control, is the best way of handling life situations; this makes even more sense in the golden phase of life!

Friends be with nature, accept nature’s ways, this will lead us to long, enjoyable life. I thought I will share with you some pictures with which will explain what I have said even better! After all a picture is equivalent of 1000 words!  30 year old, 60 year old and 10 years old Photos are of yours truly before fall, Fall and Spring !! I am trying to follow natures’ advise to accept things as they are!