A sea of seasons

Arshid Malik

The heat is catching up now, having doodled around for quite some time now. I already got sunburns while I was in Pahalgam a few days ago. So, it is high time to call it a day and draw up all your woolies into the closets with sparkling naphthalene balls to protect them from moths and other garment savvy low life. There are certain points of distinction that we can draw between summer and winter from a philosophical and psychological angle. Winters are depressing and it sends you inside yourself, searching for answers to all that you have questioned. A between the lines reading of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers.

Karamazov or The Idiot portraits the cumulative effects of winter on your psyche. Both the books, if read seriously, have that very effect on you, and while on chapter nine you feel as if you are surrounded by heaps of snow and ice all around. All you care about is coffee and lots more of while you are at it.
For instance, this random passage from Brothers Karamazov takes you for a tail spin, ““I’m a Karamazov… when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn. Let me be cursed, let me be base and vile, but let me also kiss the hem of that garment in which my God is clothed; let me be following the devil at the same time … and I feel a joy without which the world cannot stand and be.” It is so very repugnant by summer standards yet so likeable when the chill is around.

On the other hand, summer, pinches and pricks you and sends you out of your cocoons, searching for all those tainted answers outside of yourself, in the wide world that surrounds you. Summer produces its own kind of literature and literature is thought profound. Take Hardy for instance. “Sometimes I feel I don’t want to know anything more about [history] than I know already. […] Because what’s the use of learning that I am one of a long row only–finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part; making me sad, that’s all.

The best is not to remember that your nature and you past doings have been kist like thousands’ and thousands’, and that your coming life and doings’ll be like thousands’ and thousands’. […] I shouldn’t mind learning why–why the sun do shine on the just and the unjust alike, […] but that’s what books will not tell me.” — Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy,). Summer sets your fears aside and builds on your strengths. Summer is reticently an outside affair, with exquisite smells, colors and textures.
What about politics? Is there summer and winter politics? I am not sure, but I figure that winters fetch us a different political polemic than summers. We, the people of Kashmir, are exposed to characteristically opposed seasons enveloping discreetly conflicting political discourses. So, it is not only about literature but almost all spheres of human activity are under climatic influences.

As the heat picks up more on the Celsius, people will start getting fidgety and word brawls would carry common incidence on the roads of the Valley, especially in the public transport systems plying these roads. When it is winter no one cares to care about what the guy next to you is upto. Everyone is submerged in a semi-blissful, semi-lucid state of non-being.

The foods we take, the clothes we wear, the footwear, the nightwear, the draperies, the beddings, the colours, the temperature of the water we use to take a bath, the amount of hair that’s actually sits on our heads, the smiles, the slouches, the grins, the tempo of our talk, the way we walk, the amount of food we actually ingest (special emphasis on red meat), the kind of stuff we read, all of it is seasonally affected by seasonal changes.

But does the one outweigh the other. No, I would never say that. Both winter as well as summer has Ingrid charms and exquisitenesses. I am a summer person as long as I stay a winter person. That is to mean I love winters for they take me inside myself, on a journey to my innate self, and I adore summers for they take me to the world and teach me the lessons of all that exists outside me.  And all of it is reflected in the innumerous pages of literature created through the ages across the globe.


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