Nature has always mesmerized me with her abundant gifts. It is a blessed feeling to open the blinds every morning and look at the clear blue skies. Lately, the trees in the backyard have begun to don a new look, with the leaves slowly changing color.
Autumn a.k.a. Fall has been my favorite season for various reasons at different phases of my life. During these last three decades in the USA, I have been in love with Fall for the sheer beauty of its milieu. The landscape is akin to a painting created by God the eternal artist. A multitude of colors adorns Nature, and it is breathtaking to see how in the course of just a few days the surroundings transform magically!
From the sweltering heat of summer, we transit into pleasantly mild temperatures that soothe the senses. The outdoors invite us to take long walks and get caressed by the pleasant breeze. Close on the heels of one another, there are multiple reasons to be happy and celebrate!
Halloween arrives on October 31, and this tradition, borrowed from the Celtic speaking countries, is observed on a grand scale. When my child was little, he was so hyped about this day that weeks in advance, he would make plans about which costume he would buy and what character he would dress up as. Knowingly or unknowingly, I would indulge him and be a part of that childhood innocence. The euphoria for him has long since faded, but every Halloween day, I fondly reminisce about how he would go with his buddies from door to door for the “trick or treat” ritual.
Towards the fag end of Autumn, as we wait in the threshold of winter, there comes the wonderful day of Thanksgiving. Rather than being excited about a lavish meal that is the mark of this American holiday, the idea behind it is what I appreciate. It is the time to count our blessings and to be thankful for every little thing that has been showered upon us.
Life appears to us in the way we look at it. If we have the rays of positivity and optimism filtering through our minds, we can attribute these exquisite shades and hues of Autumn to represent an infinite range of beautiful emotions. The colors can represent love, joy, empathy, kindness, acceptance, gratitude, and much more. Albeit for a short period, the colors of Fall beautify the universe. Similarly, if we can spread these humane values in whatever small ways we can, we will be able to gladden so many hearts.
Nostalgia has been my faithful companion, and together we have sojourned endless miles. I rewind and go back by 30 years to relive the bliss of Autumn in my home state of Assam, warmly nestled in north-east India. What made that time of the year so special was the festive spirit laced with religious fervor.
When in India, I would identify autumn with the celebration of Durga Puja, an occasion which has always been very close to my heart. The auspicious significance of this festival is ingrained in the belief that we celebrate the triumph of good over evil as goddess Durga killed the demon king Mahishasur.
The smell of incense, the blowing of conch shells, the devotional music, and the chanting of mantras fill the air. What could be more sublime than feeling the strains of divinity descend upon mankind?
The social aspect is equally enchanting. It is a camaraderie that is in full bloom as family and friends get together to celebrate. The moments of love and laughter are priceless! Ten thousand miles away, every year during this time, I am mentally transported to the excitement and exuberance of the festival back home. Durga Puja is a Hindu festival, but it envisages what all other religions endorse: the pursuit of righteousness and virtue.
Every season has its charm, its own means of bringing happiness. Having ruminated on the ecstasies of Autumn, I would like to call it a day on a joyous note! Amidst all the colors that brighten the Earth and the festivities which foster goodness in humanity, may we all make a sincere wish. Let us nurture a hope that reason prevails over ignorance, that light transcends darkness, and that love and kindness heal the hurt and pain and bind us all!