The cherry blossoms bloom in late October here, the delicate pink flowers heralding the shift in weather from the warmer monsoon months to the chilly winter season that leads into the new year. The sight harkens back to my Canadian springs, of sakura blossoms lining university campus lanes. When the snow of the winter becomes more of a distant past, and the new green shoots and bursts of floral colours bring new life to the barrenness that preceded it. Except here, it’s getting colder, and darker, the days increasingly shorter. The pink blossoms that echo spring in my mind are accompanied by full trees of deep red poinsettia, those hallmarks of Christmas and winter.

Today is the Hindu festival of lights – Diwali. For the past week the city has sounded like a battlefield – erupting firecrackers like machine guns, exploding fireworks like bomb blasts, starting from the early morning until past the midnight hours.

The electrical heater has burned a part of the wall socket, yet the chemical scent doesn’t seem to bother me, but evokes favourable memories of clean wood-burned smoke in an open space, set against rustling leaves of yellow ochre and scarlet red, like a Bob Ross painting. The unwelcome cold was always tempered by the warm festivities of the season. The created traditions and rituals, the customary preparations of foods savoury and sweet. And so sitting on the edge of my mattress, huddled near the warm, orange glow of the electrical heater, in my first Indian winter, I feel… I feel many things that connect, that progress, that look back, that culminate in what is becoming this feeling that I can’t quite pin down.

music: rufus wainwright featuring. kate & anna mcgarrigle – talk to me Of mendocino


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