Autumn of my love

Dr Qayum Hamid Changal

Autumn of my loveAutumn or ‘Harud’ is not same abroad. Dwelling here on one island in Maldives, it’s nostalgic when I see the pictures of golden Chinar posted on Facebook. Sometimes my receptors nudge its fragrance, but it’s all imaginary. It is an art beyond all the expressions, God’s own painting brushed with perfection and refinement. Though I’m not there in the bosom of my love—Kashmir, yet her beauty allures my heart and mind. It may look insanity for many, but I wish it to prevail till all my crests and troughs of the brain, all neurons are imprinted by the feelings of being her Romeo, her unhinged aficionado.

The blades of Chinar are golden red, each one narrating the tale of its own. Every frond is technically a storyteller, reciting it in the wave of poetry so placid by heart. They talk of Kashmir, bearing witness to the clouds of catastrophe and showers of skepticism. It wants to be golden to sing the hymns for Kashmir, adoring her enchanting colors and fascinating beauty. But, a grave sleeping by the side of another one reminds these leaves of something red. Red is the blood oozing off the bodies of their inhabitants, of stem, of root, and her beholder. Thus amid chirps of the birdies and prayers of the children of ‘Makhtab’, they turn red to show solidarity with the blood.

Still, I can’t deny the fact it is mesmerising. From the rise of the sun till that tranquil dusk, the cold breeze massages every thread of Kashmir. Kids galloping in those multi-coloured sweaters, pink cheeks and tender bodies literally dance to the melody of these brittle red leaves. The earth crepitates listening to the boots of every walking soul. Even the airs of Vale twitch the bodies of these fallen blades. The music is literally supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

The mountains are no more green. Another color hugs these mighty beauties, the brown. It may seem dull and gloomy but virtually they too need some sleep. Their dormant matter awaits the white carpet of snow. It is exactly like the lover desperate to meet her charming soul soother. It is the season of mist and a hot cup of tea. It is different. It is amazing. It is Kashmir.

You don’t want to leave your bed. Mornings are enveloped by fog, the harvesting season or the season of apples. Every bite of these juicy fruits reminds you of the Blessings of Almighty Allah. Pampore is pampered by the Saffron flowers, gifting the place that spellbinding appearance. Pampore that accounts for the 80 per cent of total production of Saffron in Kashmir is embroidered by Red Gold. Millions of saffron flowers bloom, the witness to all the hard work and experience the farmers put into it to see it swollen with one of the most expensive spices.

People get ready for winters. It is time when pulses and sun-dried vegetables (Hookhe-syuun) are kept in stock. Tailors are busy stitching the pheran. Kanger (firepot) too is on sale, different sizes and colors, even tourists buy them taking it home as souvenirs. Tourists flock in large numbers in this season. Dotted with Chinar trees, these tourists love walking on these leaves and fall for the sound that is produced out of it. It’s during the autumn time only the cicida insects start making that particular sound, reminding us of its passion and compassion for this particular season. It is the time for them to lay eggs.

Kashmir is the only place in the world where an autumn arrives with a new electricity schedule by the government. It lets us know that there would be more load shedding than before in the coming days, followed by darker winters. So, people arrange other means, from power inverter to candles, the demand is more. It’s the beginning of new horror show in Kashmir, thanks to government.

As the day goes along, one witnesses smoke with a pleasant smell floating around. People are busy making embers out of these Chinar leaves for winter. They are burning red with powerful intensity of heat energy. It reminds me of the couplet by Allama Iqbal:

Jis Khak Ke Zameer Mein Hai Aatish-E-Chinaar

Mumkin Nahin K Sard Ho Vo Khaak-E-Arjuman

The dust that carries in its conscience the fire of the Chinar,

It is impossible for that celestial dust to cool down

Autumn is the season of love, of colors, of compassion, of resistance, and perfection. In Kashmir, autumn is spring in another brilliant texture. As I’m sitting thousands of miles away from my homeland, I’m thankful to all my friends for uploading pictures of heavenly ‘Harud’on social networking sites. It brings the smile on my tiresome face, as is autumn itself the last smile of a year.

The author can be mailed at qhchangal@gmail.com