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Celebrating Fall

It is that time of the year when cold winds inhospitably blow at your face as you walk home in darkness, fatigued from work...a time for those moody days that will soon turn into being utterly depressing...when the leaves that ruffle below your feet stay no more on trees revealing their quivering skeletons...the days of "deafening" quietness when migratory birds cross Oriental boundaries to seek solace.

Despite the little consolation of turning your clock back by an hour, Fall can be a dreary season. It could be unpleasant to stay up and awake and busy at work when the skies are dark and the sun can afford no sympathy upon a part of the Earth's inhabitants. It gets rather cumbersome to drape oneself with three-four and five layers of woollen clothing for every few yards of walk outside a centrally-heated building. And those few moments of walk, to top it all, can be chilling to the bones if one forgets that old pair of hand-gloves. At work too, it gets rather annoying to be deceived by day-light or the lack of it only to be disappointed that it is no later than early afternoon. Call it the Golden October or Romance in Twilight, Autumn has no flavors. It comes with a trail of sorrow and paints our colorful days with dismay until Life springs into being the next year.

Well, this definition of Autumn has only been recently added to my vocabulary. For twenty years, Autumn, I mean the few months that followed August had indeed been my life's best times...each year. The end of August would mark the beginning of conviviality, as the Calender would tip into a series of festivals. It would waylaid the beginning of a season of holidays, of real fun, of colour, sweets, fireworks, surprises and family get-together. They were the days of bustling activity along the busiest streets in the heart of the city, of noisy shopping spree of happy families and of highlights on TV of the D-days' telecasts...whatever it may be. Frequent phone calls from far-relatives would prompt plans for a fun-filled celebration. Those teasing days in-between when the First Quarterly Examinations would seemingly spoil all the excitement. But those days, however, would never last long. With little Poojas that commemorate the birthdays of Gods, the merriment would begin and lapse into an exciting 9-day toy-show during dussera peaking at the all-set, noisiest, rangeen, ecstatically funsome Diwali. A lot more shows of colour and light would follow close but would be clouded by the arrival of Second Quarterly Examinations. And even as they drew to a close, another little round of celebration. And this would be the best one, personally. Those days were the moments I would long for, all year through. They are the days that have been indelibly scripted in my memory.

Today, sitting miles away from the hub of celebration, same time, Autumn, I can't but sulk at all the beautiful occasions I am missing...Autumn, for me, marks not only festivities but also the thought of having a fantabulous birthday...but I am glad that this year, I would be home on this special occasion. The eve of the new year. A blessed beginning. And the only reason for celebrating Fall despite being oceans apart.

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