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!