Time has been a solitary witness to all events of my being in it and its being in me. It has been a pretty old companion of mine since the moment when my first cry had translated itself unto a blissful smile on my mother’s gentle face. Days went by in unfolding moments of experience and kept on bundling itself into months, seasons and years of the past. In journeying through it has taught me to respect and value its presence in my life. Maybe I came quite late in learning so, but it has been a more pleasing ride ever since I was aware of being here only because it had been here with me. I know certainty of that my life will have no permanence in its eternal continuity, will not bear any significance in its progression, and shall never be a cause for it to pause for a while to look back in days of my rest. Still every piece in its treasures has been benignly presented before me to pick any and all at my wishes. It has clairvoyantly chosen each of those precious items buried under bits and pieces of alluring deceptions through countless discrete moments of its eternal journey. My life will never know if our camaraderie has ever had any tiny contribution to its valued possession. Perhaps, my legacy will only. It has been for me only to devour, not to taste its flavour. It is a vivid portrayal of two distinct characters displaying one’s unfettered kindness sans expectation and the other’s unbridled gluttony. Sadly I could only carry hope to perceive its essence so late. It is now time for penitence, to look back and to retrace steps on the trail that we have so far traversed together. Our future journey is to honour our moments of togetherness along the beaten track.
I empty the sack that once used to show off for its treasured collection tucked inside its bulging belly. Smile of freedom shines on while it rests deflated on my back. Gentle ripples of pleasure slowly tempt to convey its impetuous desire to burst forth, and soon it revels in its impecuniosities. I choose to walk back. Silently, time comes with me too. I stumble upon pebbles of those ignored memories lie scattered along the path that I had once marched so proudly on. I start picking up, one by one. I have no hurry in mind and no greed to boast of. I wipe away dusts gathered over and touch it, feel it and it comes out whispering those forgotten tales.
Waves of memories start breaking upon hardened ridges of my soul. I pause for a while and again walk on. The path takes turns, one after another. I tread on, deeper and deeper, looking for where I once started. Scarce are those pebbles as I move farther, and suddenly wind starts fondling the dusty surface in a mysterious cadence of an unknown melody. Swirling dusts rise up dancing with rhythmic beats of my heart—the pathway leisurely fades into an impervious obscurity. Facing me is an alien world sequestering under a yashmak of miasma. Glimpses of those little mermaids appear only to mingle into myriad surreal designs woven in an infinite texture. I turn back to run. I stride out to reach where I may rediscover the way to rush back to the present. Hidden under powdery dusts the track weeps and I hear its soft murmurs. I start walking. Only a few pebbles are still visible—stacked one after another at some points of turns as milestones. I wish to contend with whatever they have to offer. Every turn presents me just a single one, much distinct in form, and I pick up only those at every such turn. My sack gets full again and time, my dear companion, says “you are back to the present, mate!”
Treasures of my memories are now with me to strengthen me to carry on for the rest of the journey. I take out those pebbles, one by one, and tenderly hold between my trembling palms. In absolute recluse existence, gentle smile showers upon my face and my soul and I touch each of those pebbles—memories of those turning points in my life. There unfurls a beautiful sequence of resembling recurrences—a simple harmonic motion—where turns did bend my life. Yes, a strong semblance is distinctly exposed. And I observe that for winter it all exist and I look at how it tied colourful ribbons to my existence at every such turns my trail. My heart leaps in joy when I look at enormous presence those sweet memories in my thoughts. And it blooms in realising significance of winter in my life. The sweetest memories are those that bring memories of those beautiful winters too.
Winter has always been with us for a brief stay, but it has left the greatest impact on my life. My memories of those winters tell me of my childhood when we used to have long vacation after exams, and those were the days of freedom. It was time to smell its sweet fragrance—of days full of fun and play, of going to circus shows and spend hours in hearing music by Navy bands in Eden Gardens. It was a season to taste delicious oranges and of festivities with keen waiting for Santa, cakes and pastries, jingles of church bells, celebrations of the New Year and Republic Day. It was for winter to appear and vanish just like a shooting star and when gone it was for us to bear a wish for the rest of the year that there would be some early jingles of bells following. Those wishes remained wishes inside our cherished hearts and it never came before the time it should, but those innocent hopes of its coming early used to carry us along through ennui of the daily life. Within a pool of sweet memories of blissful moods that winter has so far presented my eyes meet some of the sweetest ones of my life of those soothing days of winter packed with bounties of love and peace, truly relevant to where my life had had meaningful bends.
I hear laughter of my bubbling heart while I journey through recollections of a Christmas day of some decades ago. It was an exciting celebration over the Xmas cake that my mom had baked for us. The year was of celebrating 25th anniversary of our independence. It was her debut attempt on that score and she was pretty excited too. I was too eager to assist and was more excited being a fan of my mom’s culinary skill. It baked so well and tasty that we had finished before one could see how it truly looked. And, I honestly confess that my dear mom had secretly given me a piece to taste it before the Xmas candles were lit. That was also the last cake my mother could bake for me; she died in May next year. My life swerved in a flash. On the same winter I met a little girl with her innocuous eyes. Instant was our friendship. It went on for some more winters. We could only meet in winter, and in that way, she had been a fairy who used to have her annual sojourn every winter as soon as the tune of “Jingle Bells” had filled air and my soul. The season used to come and gallop fast until when it would be time for a silent celebration of her birthday and I knew it would be then time to part, both with the fairy and the season! In one such winter I felt she was no more a fairy, she seemed a reality in my life and I felt that I loved her. With twists in the trail traversed by the traveller in me, I expressed my love to my childhood fairy in the next winter and in another winter our love mingled into oneness and we got united for life. Yet, another winter came and I became a proud father, and my beloved, a proud mother. The warmth of those sunny days took us through further more years. And a few years hence, I had still been awake late on a chilly Christmas night. I could see dreams playing with my darling’s lips and eyes; she was deep asleep and by the side of her bed I kept on watching her face while night spent it by. With the caressing first rays of the sun we were blessed with another gift of winter. Another little child was born. My life advanced for a few more years mostly fascinated by the presence of winter and all I had had of my sweetheart season.
Being charmed with its magic spell, my life has had its journey for so long and with turns after turns, it gets closer and closer to where it should finally rest. Still it awaits a few more bends not to expect of what winter has to offer but only to celebrate rituals of its ecstatic presence in my life. I lean over the path and rest my ears closely pressed on it to hear musical beats of its footsteps and my heart leaps again in delight and resonates in its melodious tune to welcome another winter. Soon it will be time to embrace my benefactor, my saviour, my beloved winter again.
Welcome, dear; welcome, winter !!