Sangeeta Saikia Pathak
It is that time of the year once again when you wake up to chilly mornings that send down shivers through your spine and you keep longing for the warmth of the first rays of the sun or a cup of hot tea or capuccino to overcome that creepy lazy and lethargic feeling in the wee hours of the morning!!!!
The dew drops on the blades of the grasses or the leaves of the trees or the petals of the flowers in the early morning hours simply offer a kind of ecstatic joy that reverberate our minds and souls throughout the entire day. It really feels surreal to gaze at the sight of the hazy fog along the green hills slowly giving way to the first rays of the sun and the green hills adorning a golden hue thereafter. The sight of the puffs of air being released through their mouths as they start talking is always a source of delight for the toddlers and the kinder-garten goers!!!! Like any other season, winter too has its own reasons for being a favourite among most earth dwellers!!!!
Come winter and lo!!! It’s time to flaunt all your woollen outfits that you have so carefully locked them up in your closet for the rest of the year!!! The markets are also flooded with all kinds of new winter arrivals juxtaposed with the festive spirit of Diwali, the festival of lights or Christmas or the New Year’s Eve or our own very local Bhogali Bihu!!!! Apart from cardigans, pullovers, long and short coats, hooded jackets, shawls, stoles, mufflers, woollen kurtas and pants, caps, pumps and boots that are part of the winter sartorials and accessories ….you also need to dab lots of oil, lotions and ointments on your skin to keep them tight from sagging!!!
Leave aside the sartorials….even the decor of the houses undergo a kind of change to bring in a warm and cosy ambience. The light and cool pastel shades of the summer are often replaced by vibrant colours like purple, orange, crimson red, yellow and golden as evident in the sofa-backs, cushion-covers or the throw-pillows. Brightly coloured and intricately designed carpets and rugs adorn the floors of every room. Heavy and brightly-hued curtains now adorn the doors and windows of most houses in an attempt to keep at bay the cold winds from penetrating the indoors. The exteriors of these magnificent houses comprise of beautiful flower gardens of multicoloured hues. Marigolds, dahlias, sunflowers, chrysanthemums , ivies, petunias, asters etc etc remain in full bloom throughout the entire winters leaving one spellbound with their sense of beauty and fragrances of all sorts!!!
Just throng the market places and you will be stupefied at the assortment of the colours of the winter fruit and vegetables on display at the fruit stalls and the vegetable vendors. Oranges, grapes, strawberries, pineapples, figs, dragon fruit etc are the seasonal winter fruit. Amongst the winter vegetables, sweet potato, brocolli, cauliflower, cabbages, peas, beet, radish, turnip, spinach, lettuce are the prime ones. These seaonal winter fruit and vegetables are indeed the gifts of Nature to Mankind and need to be consumed by human beings as they are loaded with all the necessary supplements to ward off the winter illnesses.
Coming to winter cuisine, cups of specially flavoured tea and coffee over hot pakoras are the favourites for office- goers while chicken items like soups, gravies, momos, thupkas, kababs and tikkas flavoured with a variety of spices are specially sought after by the youngsters. While the sale of mithais are high during Diwali, cakes, pastries, cookies and doughnuts of different flavours occupy a great sale in the bakeries and confectioneries of the city of Guwahati during the Christmas eve. And one can really count upon the sale of variety of fish at exorbitant rates at the Uzanbazar ghats on the banks of the Brahmaputra river for the community feasting of the Uruka nights along with the high sale of Bhogali Bihu delicacies like chira doi, gur, cream ,pithas and larus alongside the roadside vendors and the Bhogali Melas held specially for that purpose !!!!
Winters are also the time for destressing and rejuvenating the human minds and souls. Many people like to travel to places of warmer climate during this season. The adventure-lovers often go on camp fires along the edges of forest reserves in this part of the country. Family and office picnics to nearby places of natural beauty are an exclusive part of the winters. Winter is also the great time for family-gatherings and get- togethers during the festive occassions of Diwali, Christmas, New Years Eve and the Uruka Nights over fireplaces and barbeque arrangements!!!!
All told, winter has its own specialities with the days shortening, the early evenings and the nights lengthening along with the seasonal blooming of its own set of flowers, fruit and vegetables and unfolding of its own natural beauty with the dewdrops, fogs, mists and the cold winds!!!! Nature has its own laws which it never abhors. We , humans ought to learn from this aspect of Nature. Just like the hot sultry days of summer gracefully turn over into biting cold wintery nights and vice-versa, so do we humans should be able to adjust, withstand and face all the challenges in our lives with smiling faces!!!!
Sangita Saikia Pathak has been writing poems, short stories and articles since her college days. Soulful Musings is her first poetry collection. She works in the Govt of Assam.