The Winter.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Winter is a season full of mystery. Lets take a cup of coffee and unleash its beauty and enigma.

The concrete lay bare, lit by the glaring flares of the ill-maintained street lights, flickering every now and then, the yellow tungsten playing host to the swarm of Diwali moths. The shadows came long, distinct, silhouettes, lit by the warm yellow on an otherwise cold concrete, crowded by the crisscrossing shadows, uniting, drifting and uniting again.

There was the barely ignorable nip again and the whispers along cold streets amidst hot breaths, with the dusk settling in for the night and people, with chapped, pale lips, with the dryness clawing at it, making intricate marks on them as they murmur to each other, in acknowledging voices, “The winter is coming…”, sitting under half naked branches of the hardwood tree.

And the chill slowly intensifies. Feeds on the moisture of the skin, reaches into the deep, epithelium, drying it to the core. The dewdrops frequent by night time-on the leaves about to shrivel up and wither away loosening their hold from the branches and flutter away in the winter breeze. And from the alley houses and the big mansions the fervent calls to the child leaving the house in the evening, the same warning rings out, “Winter is coming…”

The stacked up department stores, with the people crowding to buy Boroline, the road side tea shops over flowing with motley crowds, huddling together for consecutive cups of teas, served in earthen cups, with a distinct taste to it and with the dense warmth smoking out of it. On their lips, amidst furious discussions on life, job and the mandatory, politics, the same message, “Winter is coming…”

Deeper, much deeper into the dying dusk and the dawning night, an impregnable silence seizes the air all around and the cold tranquil surroundings interrupted by far away train whistles, the rattle of the steel-cold tracks against the blazing train wheels, the clash of metal, heard somewhere far off, while lying on a warm bed, deep into a sleepless night. The pace of winter, the intensifying chill, the hasty dryness, the sound of silence reverberating, as the steaming trains fled to distant stations.

The chill was omnipresent and fast enclosing and hard to escape, the routine brewing of coffee to keep away the sleep and the shivering cold, one cup after the other, the warm aroma and the cold hands and the even colder feet.

Dawn was late to come, disrobing only in front of subdued suns and dewdrop skies and shining into a pale-bright day. The fog settled and resettled, restlessly, over vast fields and unknown stretches of land and somewhere it crowds on the road and trails in the half-sunlit, sewage-stinking alleys and over muddy river banks, clogging the sight of the early fisherman.

Sleep is often reluctant to leave; men tug at the blanket, lying on a warm bed, with colorless dreams in their eyes, waltzing with them, embracing the transient death, sleeping, dreaming and breathing. The sunlight streams in with the microscopic dust molecules afloat in it and the waft of morning air, the chill along with it and some fog; they all make for the cracks, from everywhere, all around.

The lazy afternoon sun slows time, expands the hours and brings it to a pause. The lethargy sets in, the thinker mind is stirred, Neverland calls out as the bed beckons, the warmth seduces amidst the desperate longing of tired winter days that long for some early evenings and long, much longer nights.

Dusk suddenly fades into the blue night again, the cold comes back to haunt, cooler than the previous night, the treetops stand stripped, the silence more brooding, more chilling, the unconscious extra cup of coffee gets ordered, the arms wrapped tightly around the chest, the collar slightly pulled up and fast, fast steps, all longing for some warmth, some closure, filled with the mixed joy and the subconscious fear-winter is coming.

The streetlight cast tall shadows of the hurrying people and the ones huddling on the pavement, with kids with brown hair and torn clothes, sitting around the lit firewood, small hands, the big ones, all outstretched towards the heat, a strange melody on their lips.

From busy streets to the deserted alleys, the alarm rings everywhere, the haste breathing down the neck, the chase of winter, like a new lover, rushing inside the heart, breaking unforeseen, unknown boundaries and making space to accommodate the newness of another relationship. The chase is rampant, breathless. Dry, then drier- skin, the migratory birds, the cloudy fog, the feel of the chill and the coughing and sneezing people, muffler-adorned, in muffled, broken voices tell each other, “Winter is coming…”

And it’s not until they lie on their beds, the cold concrete or the jute-strewn ones, with a warm fire lit beside it or the luxurious soft mattress with a furry blanket and the fans kept switched off and the windows kept slightly ajar, with the night breeze streaming in that one realizes that the last season was here, again. Peeling off the skin on the palms, chapping the lips, making them bleed and the bare trees, barer than yesterday, adorning the streets all along. And the hazy fog floats-hazier today. And the drying, rusting leaves, dying by the minute by the chill which shivers the air. The impermanence of all things, the death of it, the eager yet impatient wait for another start. Like the crisscrossing shadows under street lights and kerosene lanterns, uniting, reuniting, the shadows of Life engaging in a wild jamboree while the light shines and fade away, next- into darkness, when the light dims and the shadows die. The impermanence, again. The futile sense of forever wiped away to the black shadows-where in the darkness they become one. One whole nothing. Again.

The cycle continues. Summer, winter. Love, hate. War, Peace. Life-and the promise of an ending,the promise of Death.

We embrace the change, sometimes resenting, sometimes repelling and while at other times we rush towards it. We move like clockwork, in this cycle, constant in its all inconstancy, static in spite of all the dynamics, puppets free to move…but puppets never the less.

Change controls us. Enslaves us. Yet we wait. Patiently impatient. For a new beginning. Winter brings the end-with the fogs and the chill and the dying, fizzling suns and warm, wine nights and those cold woolen days of absorbing warmth. And somewhere, unconsciously, the wait begins. For the rebirth. Of another season-a season of blooms and incandescent suns, for a change. The wait is constant, nagging the muddy minds and the heavy hearts, sharp in its despondency. Nature’s absolute need for contrasts outweighing the personal desires and wants-to hold on longer than necessary. Whilst the shadow of Death patiently waits, somewhere -for Life to be reborn.

Once again.

Submitted: November 23, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Ankita Sirker. All rights reserved.

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