October has always been like the start line of a race you know you are going to win. It is a month when one starts feeling at ease with everything around. During the day you feel warm but are not sweaty. As the day passes by, you get calmer and as evening sets in there a tender nippy pinch on your shoulders like that single drop of fridge water that slides out of the corner of your lips, down your chin to the chest and you still feel nice.

Having been brought up in a hill station residential school, October was the onset of a month filled with excitement, angst, hate, anger, disgust and pure love with heats of events leading to the nail biting final day of the annual athletics meet, followed by the annual fancy fair which brought with it the balmy and fuzzy feeling of watching and trying to get close to the fairer sex for those few hours in the entire year, the toasty dream sequence of wanting to and if you were lucky enough to get a chance, for that one-and-a-half minute dance session in the Juke Box. The day ended rather sympathetically as only 10 lucky winners had worthy raffle tickets. October also thrusted the slowly setting miserable feeling of upcoming half-yearly exams and the even worse feeling of going home for winter vacations! I am not sure about others, I never wanted to go home. But with the month passing by, it turned piercingly cold and the distress just kept growing. Weather wise, except the peak summer month of June, most other months were spent close to what one could call, heaven. It was the onset of early winters. Days had slight breeze which got warm and cool depending on the sparkle of the sun. As it set, the breeze would get chillier and sometimes sting on your nose tips & toes. Skies would keep changing wardrobe all day, starting with azure blue early morning to the ocean blue by mid-day, swiping an orange-yellow tang by early evening, finally wearing a bright pashmina shawl interwoven with wool of lavender, violet and royal purple before it went dark. Days were getting shorter and one wanted it evening to come as swiftly as possible to watch the sun go down in that shawl full of warm rays and cold wind.

Back home, with time, memories and a lot of water under the bridge, realisation has set in on so many things that do not happen anymore which would start trickling in as October peeped. Since days were getting shorter, there were increased heated arguments between kids and parents to either allow them to go out early or let them stay out after dark a little longer, to play in the neighbourhood. One would stealthily buy steamy hot street food from the hawker who tempted us every day. The ceiling fans would need adjustment almost every hour since 1 would not help and turning to 3 would prick the soft skin behind the neck. We would almost log off our computers to leave office looking at the shallow light outside realising there is still another one warm hour to clock out. The early morning banter at residence gates, hot leftovers exchanged during/after lunch and sudden shopping plan with the excuse of evening walks among neighbours and laughing clubs at parks have vanished under the cold keys of phones. Come to think of it, The early morning need to switch on the geyser for a warm shower doesn’t happen anymore either. Cold water gushes out giving a comfortable bath and smother last night’s dream. Even scientifically, I hear, the world is becoming a cold planet.

– Kanishka Mallick (1996)

This piece was shared by Kanishka Mallick on  October 04, 2020 via a personal message.


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