‘Autumn’ like a gust of fresh air brings in the cheerful blue sky with white patches of cottony clouds pushing off the gloom that kept hovering above for the last couple of months. Autumn brings an end to the season of downpour and makes way for the sunny days filled with the aroma of fresh flowers, the music of festivity and the joy of celebration. Let’s welcome the season of festivity, let’s celebrate Autumn.
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;” – John Keats
The misty morning, the dewy grass, the cool breeze, the fresh coat of Parijat, the furry Kaas waving gently with the wind – there is an aura of happiness all around. It seems the monsoon have washed away all dullness of the year for us to embrace the happy new autumn.
Monsoon does have its own charm but after a long bout of the wet season, the soul utterly craves for the bright sun-filled days. (Read my previous post on Monsoon.) The vegetation by now has washed off its grim and got the fresh paint of green. To announce their happiness they load themselves with flowers and fruits. Poets give words to their imagination and creative masterpiece. When it comes to poems I immediately remember the poem To Autumn by John Keats and the Bengali poem ‘Eseche Sarat Himer Porosh’ by Rabindranath Tagore.
“এসেছে শরৎ, হিমের পরশ
লেগেছে হাওয়ার পরে,
সকাল বেলায় ঘাসের আগায়
শিশিরের রেখা ধরে।
আমলকী–বন কাঁপে যেন তার
বুক করে দুরু দুরু,
পেয়েছে খবর পাতা খসানোর
সময় হয়েছে শুরু।
শিউলির ডালে কুঁড়ি ভরে এল
টগর ফুটিল মেলা,
মালতীলতায় খোঁজ নিয়ে যায়
মৌমাছি দুই বেলা।
গগনে গগনে বরষন শেষে
মেঘেরা পেয়েছে ছাড়া,
বাতাসে বাতাসে ফেরে ভেসে ভেসে
নাই কোনো কাজে তাড়া।
দিঘি–ভরা জল করে ঢল্ ঢল্
নানা ফুল ধারে ধারে,
কচি ধানগাছে খেত ভরে আছে
হাওয়া দোলা দেয় তারে।
যে দিকে তাকাই সোনার আলোয়
দেখি যে ছুটির ছবি,
পূজার ফুলের বনে ওঠে ওই
পূজার দিনের রবি।” – Rabindranath Tagore
Here the poet implies that the advent of Autumn declares the Winter is not far behind. The crisp air, the grass with the morning dew all signals the approaching winter. The vegetation (here with the mention of Indian Gooseberry) prepares to shed its foliage for the Winter. Flowers like Parijat, Crepe Jasmine and Rangoon Creepers fills the twigs as the honey bee buzzes over them happily. The clouds have finally receded for the season while the water bodies are full. There are fresh blooms everywhere, the fields too are filled with young paddy seedlings. The mellow golden sunlight covers everything and spreads the aura of vacation because it is the time of Durga Puja.
Autumn is beautifully described in both these poems according to the geography to where the poets belong. There are definitely other poems on Autumn in various languages not known to me. I would love to hear about them in the comment section from my readers. I could not do justice to the synopsis while translating and I feel the emotion and the music is lost in the process. But being a Bengali I hold a very close attachment to the poem and the season. The other reason is the season being the harbinger of Durga Puja also called Sarodutsav (festival of Autumn). (Read more about Durga Puja.)
When I say Durga Puja it begins with excitement and equally ends with the same excitement. It all starts with the pre puja preparation where the mind fills with joy watching the Pandal being set up. Then comes the Puja shopping spree. New collections of fashion items flood the market and fashionistas rush to get hold of the best pick. I remember how I used to be hyper-excited to count my dresses received as puja gifts from relatives in my childhood. Though the gift craze has reduced the puja craze is still the same.
Durga Puja for the Bengalis is not just limited to religious bindings rather it is a combination of enthusiasm, joyfulness, fashion, celebration, food, music, art, culture, tradition and more. Altogether it can be termed as an emotion that threads the Bengalis near and far, at home or abroad in a single string. And it is the autumn that bestows us with such innumerable joy. Durga Puja coincides with the autumnal Navratri so apart from the Bengalis others too celebrate at the same time.
Festivals line up the calendar after the Durga Puja so the Autumn can also be called the season of festivity. The other major festival after the Durga Puja is Diwali which is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur across India. Why only India? The world celebrates autumn with various festivals like the Oktoberfest in Germany, Loy Krathong in Thailand, Guy Fawkes Night in the UK, Day of the Dead in Mexico, Moon Festival in China, Halloween in the US and many more.
Autumn is not just a season it is an exuberance of nature, it is a show of abundance and fulfilment, it is the joy of festivals, it is the celebration of cheerfulness. So let’s welcome October and thus welcome the Autumn – the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” P.S. – I wanted to share this post on the first day of the month but my usual laid back self prevented me to do so. I hope my readers won’t mind the delay and enjoy my post on the auspicious day of Mahalaya, the first day of Autumnal Navratri. Wishing all a Happy Durga Puja and a Happy Navratri.