Winter Bliss

It is in its dying moments now.  Some may say it is already dead. Yet it has lived and thrived for almost 3 months this year which has been its usual, normal life span.

This season however has been uneven. Sometimes it’s been severely cold with temperatures dropping to 10 degrees in Bhubaneswar (that was the 3rd lowest in the city in past 10 years) and sometimes ebbing away, giving the impression it was fading but only to return stronger after a couple of days.

This was partly due to rains which lashed parts of Odisha in all 3 months i.e. from Dec-Feb. Each time it became overcast the temperatures rose, only to plummet once again as the clouds rained and dissipated away.

Perhaps these unseasonal showers are just a reflection of the changing weather patterns we we keep hearing about these days, but have not yet fathomed its severity on our lives.

For the moment however, I am not thinking about global warming. Rather I am ensconced snugly in the safer confines of my home and enjoying the last few moments of a season which like its antithesis Summer evokes diverse reactions.

Some people love the cold comforts which winter brings with itself. The mild sun, a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea are some of these luxuries.

For me personally winter has always evoked mixed feelings. I love to hate it as essentially I am a summer person who enjoys the sun and the power it exudes over all of us. Winter and the cold make me uncomfortable.

For example, I like sitting and reading in the evenings in my balcony for long periods. But while the clock shows only 5.30 pm the sunlight is gone and it’s already time to head back inside my room.

That is not too comforting as I like to soak in the sights and sounds of the busy road in front of our house while I am engrossed in leafing through the pages of my current favourite book.

The winter dusk comes in quickly and somehow there is a dark and depressing feeling around it.

Yet winter is powerful. It tames the sun and makes it go soft. Its rays become as mellow and feeble like my grandma’s temper. Even as I walk in it for half an hour during my morning exercise it barely feels on my skin. A similar morning walk in summer would cause ample discomfort!

Winter comes with its own peculiarities like each season does, and there are certain scenes which are so reminiscent of it.

For example, the security guard of the Bank ATM  in our adjoining building standing in the morning sun and reading the daily newspaper; a couple of stray dogs lying near his feet and sun bathing. People in the evenings huddling together on the roadside around a makeshift bonfire and spreading out their hands intermittently to feel its heat and get some comfort.

It is the season when people clamour to become tourists and pile onto the next available transport to go to a place they have been wanting to visit all year. Not only people, even millions of birds take their annual flight out of frigid zones to land in more salubrious climes of the region primarily among them being the Chilka Lake.

Even our long stored away woollens, forgotten in dark cupboards get an opportunity to come out and see the world during this season. They may have become loose or tight depending on how the owner has gone about their food habits in the rest of the year but they have a role to fulfil – keep him/her warm and away from the chill.

However the maximum glory of winter can be seen around us in nature. Flowers bloom in abundance and bring us unlimited joys with their bright colours and multiple hues.

Dew drops caress the leaves overnight and the morning mist slowly lifts its veil over all things, both mundane and beautiful.

Now as the season is ending I can see further evidence of the changing moods – in the leaves of trees around me. As a cool winter breeze picks up and rustles the branches of the trees, dry withered leaves by the dozens drift to the ground like discarded robes and the trees will very soon get a new soft cover.

A local Indian almond/badam tree (Terminalia catappa) next to my house had almost red coloured leaves throughout winter. Now, gradually green leaflets sprout from amongst the reds as the older ones undergo shedding. And not a single leaf changes colour without the silent knowledge of the whole tree.

Soon, they will decay and become one with the soil; essentially gong back to where they came from.

The Old..

The New..

This is so much akin to life itself – the old making way for the young, the withered ones being replaced with the tender. For the basic principle must be adhered to – that Life has to go on.

Even if that means changing seasons and its myriad moods from one to another.

If Winter would say, "Spring is in my heart, who would believe Winter?"

-Khalil Gibran

The Battle

The devil in my mind gives a hiss,
It says just give this battle a miss.

I turn to God and ask, "why choose me?"
HE replies, "The strongest warrior fights, hence I chose thee!"

For each time there are 2 battles which we fight;
One in our minds, and the other which tests our might.

So, yes it is these battles which helps one grow,
They teach us how to handle whatever life will throw!

So instead of questioning, let's accept them with grace,
Look within yourself - you have the strength to conquer and find solace.

Whenever we are faced with a difficult situation in life, we have to wrap our heads around its degree of severity first. And then our physical self gets into action. In essence it is a battle within a battle. 

This is a dedication to my sister Hena who valiantly fought her battles and exited gracefully. You will always be missed 😦

Illustration by Kishor Mistry. Thank you

किस्सा sadak का

Hello Everyone!

As you know, I am that omnipresent entity that runs across your city, your village and highways.

Though you see me and use me everyday, yet you may never have had the time to pause and listen to my story.

Today there is an opportunity. And ironically these thoughts which I now share with you, are of those times when none of you were on the roads.

As I was alone and unfettered by my duties to carry the weight of your feet and motor tyres, it gave me time to reflect on few aspects of life.

But first, let me say something about myself in the below prose –

Made from asphalt, concrete and covered with melting tar, 

I stretch like a ribbon so wide and far!

Black and beautiful, I am your journey's lifeline,

Always there for you, come rain or shine!
 

So, without further ado let me show you some of my pictures and you can also read my thoughts as you go along 🙂

Frame 1

It is a bright sunny day today!

White fluffy clouds dot the vista. My mind as clear as the blue sky above, stretches its horizons in limitless directions.

I feel ecstatic.

Frame 2

Uh-oh, looks like I spoke too soon! Ashen coloured clouds suddenly appear on the skyline.

Isn’t this like life itself? Bright and clear in one moment; dark and cloudy in the next.

Frame 3

But that is how the changing seasons are a part of life and make it worth living!

Thunder rumbles and the rain drops make tiny splashes on my surface.

It cools me and refreshes my soul.

Frame 4

I look like a river of orange! I think I am in love with the setting sun.

It reflects its glow on me and embraces me in its warmth 🙂

Frame 5

You have put up a barricade at my entrance. Otherwise I know nothing of boundaries. I stretch freely from The Golden Temple in the North to Cheramaan Juma Mosque in the South and from Sri Jagannath Temple in the East to Basilica of Bom Jesus in the West.

I lead you to all of them and do not differentiate on the basis of your religion or sect.

Frame 6

Sometimes life does turn upside down.

It could be in the darkness of the night or in the light of the day. Someone we love might pass away!

Yet we must re-set and move on the road of life.

Frame 7

Time brings down the curtains to the day.

Everything now falls silent, as the night engulfs us all and puts us to sleep. Only to awaken another day and face life with renewed vigour and optimism.

Goodbye for now!

Copyright © 2021 Wasim Jawaid

This work of fiction written, photographed and conceptualized by Wasim Jawaid is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author. For permission requests, send an email to the author wasim.jawaid@gmail.com

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

T.S. Eliot
Dear Reader,

Sometimes a road is used as a metaphor for life and there are many thoughts around it. It is said that the journey is more important than the destination. 

A road encapsulates all our travels and sometimes it helps us introspect on where we are going and where we would like to go.

Do share your thoughts below on this thoughtful/thinking road! 

Jannat

It is about 5.30 in the evening. I sit in the balcony of our house which overlooks the main road, reading a work of fiction by my favourite author.

The sun by now is mellow enough and I bask in its soft illumination as it starts setting in the horizon on my far left. The light is perfect; neither too harsh and neither too dark and hence I know I can continue reading for at least another half an hour to 45 minutes in this light.

In between the reading, I cast my glance at the traffic on the road in front and below me. 2 -wheelers are rushing by, some of them honking un-necessarily even if the road ahead of them is clear. A delivery guy in his ubiquitous orange t-shirt worn over a dark full sleeve shirt, zigzags past a couple of cars aware that a hungry customer waiting for the order might just get impatient and call him anytime.

SUV’s of varying sizes, in all their masculine grandeur and shiny metallic hues roar past the smaller vehicles, as if courtesy their bigger size they have the right to own a greater share of the road!

One of them as large and menacing as a shark, glides through the traffic threatening to devour anything which comes in its way. It is a millionaire’s toy and the setting sun’s golden rays hits its gleaming white exterior, reflecting off in admiration.

Every time a vehicle zooms past the median which divides the road equally into 2 halves, like a ridge slicing an apple fruit at its middle, the bougainvillea plants growing within the median rustle and move in the blast of the air which hits them.

Away from this mad rush on the black tarred road, a masked, middle-aged man in knee length shorts walks on the red coloured, weather-coated pavement meant for cyclists. With him is his fierce looking Alsatian dog whom he has taken out for a stroll.

Though the master seems intent on completing his walk on time, the dog is more relaxed. It is wagging its tail and even stops for a brief moment to bark at a street dog, who in its rough, dirt brown coat and lean frame, looks like a poor cousin of the well-groomed and well-fed Alsatian!

Overtaking both man and beast easily is a lady out on her evening run. She checks the smart watch on her wrist to make sure all parameters of her exercise schedule are on track. Clad in a loose, dark blue sweatshirt and a black figure-hugging track suit, her stylish sneakers pound the red gravel as she is completely focussed on her run.

Maybe she is not aware that watching from a short distance away, seated in a privileged balcony chair is me. From my vantage position I soak in all these sights and sounds as I realise, that from the fast-moving vehicles to the jogging lady and to the evening walker, each of us are in our own mode of motion.

I am like a mute spectator, stationary but moving in my thoughts. How perfect is this set-up, I think to myself! My book of fiction transports me to a different world altogether but right here is the real world which is alive, vibrant and ticking over like the clock.

People are going about completing their tasks, running errands and meeting deadlines. But for me this hour brings in lot of peace and relaxation. As if to prove my point further, I lift my left leg and fold it comfortably on the wicker armchair. This relaxes me even further.

I lift my teacup and take a sip of the hot green beverage embellished with ginger and tulsi leaves. The feeling of utopia is complete.

Surely heaven will be like this! Just the thought of being so much at peace with myself and my surroundings is pure bliss. My heart beats softly, in even rhythmic beats and I take in a deep breath.

A sense of calmness pervades my entire being.

Over time, I have understood that every day brings me such moments which makes me realize that on Earth itself, I am in Jannat*. One other such moment is when I wake up in the morning but continue to lie down on the bed for few additional minutes, well aware that the moment I get up, the day will start and keep me busy with its myriad activities.

Jannat – An Urdu word meaning ‘paradise’ or ‘heaven’.

Yet those 10 minutes in bed, lying with eyes closed but fully conscious that I am not expected to do anything at all, is simply heavenly!

After all, as the popular saying goes -What if we die and meet God and HE asks, “So, how was heaven?”

Copyright © 2021 Wasim Jawaid

This work of fiction, written by Wasim Jawaid is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author. For permission requests, send an email to the author wasim.jawaid@gmail.com 

Dear Reader,

Do you have any such moment(s) during the day when you feel lot of peace and bliss? A feeling that perhaps comes closest to being described heavenly?

If yes, please do share your thoughts below!

The Black Stockings

They stretch lazily from the tip of your toes, through the angle of the ankle, caressing your legs gently all the way up to your knees and ending somewhere beyond where the mind’s eye is loath to wander.

Their black colour is the colour of night. They lovingly wrap around the white glow of your skin, as if distilled moonlight has been enclosed by the night sky.

They were just an opaque pair of stockings in the shop where you purchased them from. To be worn by any random shopper.

However on you they take on a different form. As if alive!

They glide across your legs without a wrinkle like second skin until they stretch languidly and disappear under the edges of the short black skirt you are wearing.

At the other end, the stockings dip and end inside the pointed high heeled shoes you wear. Needless to say they too are black in colour completing the head to toe coal black look.

It is bewitching.

Silk of fabric meets silk of skin and together they create a sensuous effect. You cross your legs and sit alone on a bench striking an elegant pose.

You look gorgeous!

In my mind, I have already walked a thousand miles and stop to soak in this mesmerising sight. I sit down on the bench next to you and look into those beautiful eyes which reflect the image of the person who loves you intensely.

I end up kissing your lips to start a flame,
As if a black magic spell has been cast in my name!


An awesome attire can change the entire game,
For igniting my crazy feelings - your black stockings are to blame!

‘The Black Stockings’ Illustration by ishanixart.

(Main Insta – whozzishani) A talented NIFTian. Thank you so much Ishani 🙂

Copyright © 2021 Wasim Jawaid

This work of fiction, written by Wasim Jawaid is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author. For permission requests, send an email to the author wasim.jawaid@gmail.com