Of Winter, Nights and Memories….

Winter has finally arrived in my city, Kolkata. The mornings are misty with the sun tiptoeing slowly into vision making the distant scape clear. The sun has lost its usual tropical warmth though, its rays feel comfortable now as one steps down in the street. The morning soon gives way to afternoon; since winter solstice (21st December) in the northern hemisphere of the earth is approaching, the length of the day is decreasing gradually. While we enjoy winter as it comes as a special guest who stays not more than two-three months in this part, the short-living daylight creates a melancholy effect on my mind for no definite reason.

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It’s precisely the time when the evening sun disappears among the trees all of a sudden leaving behind a faint trail and the vespertine shadows creep in steadily to overpower the weak twilight, I feel cold, very cold. All seems unstable, quivering as dry, shrivelled leaves, splotches of shades and flakes of light interchanging their positions constantly. My mind stays in this state for a few minutes for as soon as the darkness of night evinces, the nyctophile in me breathes again easily.

It’s a wonderment to me that in spite of my love for darkness and night itself, I do not feel at ease at those particular moments. If you ask me why I don’t like daytime, I would, instead of belabouring you with the demerits of mornings (I like mornings, in fact. But, I love nights and, that makes all the difference) rather point you out at the quintessential characters of nights. Night– majestic in its simplicity, emphatic in its admonitions. It’s the light that often blinds us, not the darkness. It helps to concentrate, to introspect.

It’s said that the olfactory lobes catch and store the deepest of memories. Winter has a smell of its own. A concoction of fresh seasonal vegetables, oranges, freshly baked cakes and cookies, peethas (a type of Bengali delicacy prepared during winter) heavy perfume of dried leaves as you tread on them and nostalgia! Not that I happen to smell together but each one, even singularly, makes me remember the days of childhood. They, in a jiffy, trigger memories galore; of spending Christmas holidays in my maternal grandma’s house, of sitting under a tree in the afternoons with a bowl of oranges and a book, of sipping ginger-tea in the evenings, of listening to fairy tales in the nights from granny. And, that tristful feeling at the moment when the crepuscular sky moves towards night’s black fraternization.

Winter, sometimes, awakens all the memories and sorrows. Perhaps, from days unknown.

“Wynter wakeneth al my care,
Nou this leves waxeth bare;
Ofte I sike ant mourne sare
When hit cometh in my thoht
Of this worldes joie, hou hit goth al to noht.”

(A medieval winter poem, anonymous)


86 responses to “Of Winter, Nights and Memories….

  1. Glad I found your blog.. This is written so beautifully. Always wanted to visit Kolkata, never got a chance.. But Bengali Movies have helped me a lot in understanding the city… Movies like Prakton, Chokher Bali, Belasheshe etc.. Myself, a great fan though.. And now your writing made me fall in love with the city all over again.. 😊

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  2. Sending you ever so much love and Light Maniparna. So glad that you’re here!!!! ❤ ❤ Blessings, Debbie ps – I really acknowledge you for sharing. Sometimes that helps me heal, just in the awareness and expression of what's so. ❤

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  3. Nice Mani – I can almost smell the winter you have described 🙂 I love that medieval poem at the end – takes a few readings to get the hang of the words, but it is worth the effort. I am with you in loving nights, but my favourite is predawn (we call it piccaninni dawn) or false dawn – when the first light shows in the sky, but the stars still rule supreme 🙂 Take care Mani. Blessings ffom Oz 🙂

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  4. Your winter poetry reaches for my heart. I thought for a while I knew why you like nights but not evenings, but the fact that you like mornings and not so much the days made me abandon the thought I had that perhaps it could be the moments of transition that disturb your balance. I’ll have to reread and rethink – or maybe you can give me a clue.

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  5. Once upon a time my winter was associated with Test Cricket, radio commentary of the matches and of course nolen gurer jolbhora. Everything is so changed now. You’ll find cricket all round the year and so are the nolen gurer mishties. Sigh. Your winter words sparkle here. Beautiful, Maniparna.

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  6. Lovely to hear that a comfortable winter has descended over Kolkata. It sounds like such a different winter we experience here in Australia in the middle of the year. Wouldn’t mind trading winters with you 😀 I have to agree that night is majestic. I love the night and am most alert at night. But I also can’t help but love the feeling of warmth that light and sunshine brings. Enjoy your winter treats, Mani 🙂

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  7. Amazing. Feeling nostalgic and smelling all the aroma of winter delicacies. Eagerly waiting to taste the freshly baked cakes of nahoum’s. All the get togethers and picnics of winter bring colour to the monotonous daily life.

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  8. Lovely words Maniparna. Somehow as much as we might dislike the summer, the onset of winter does affect the mood as the days start becoming shorter and time seems to starts slipping away. Spending a little time enjoying the winter sunshine is a bliss. You have beautifully described that feeling of unease and melancholy that the onset of winter brings in, and ended the post with a beautiful poem.

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  9. Beautiful words. You have wonderfully described the simplicity of the life, which we miss now very much.
    By the way, why do Calcuttans or Kolkatans always fantasise the winter? The very thought of winter makes them feel the “utture hawa” and they take out their shawls, jackets or even the monkey caps at the drop of hat (or temperature, may be). We may have some wonderful words from you on this in some other post.

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  10. Beautiful words to describe the arrival of winter. I am a winter person, I love the cold winter nights..my books, some coffee and a fire (a traditional fire place) and my thoughts to accompany me 🙂

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  11. The winter after always comes with a melancholic tune, unlike the winter morning that comes with hopes. I can easily connect the sad feeling of the afternoon, “ooh! it was too late and I’m going to miss my playtime”, Now, there is no time for play, still, I feel the melancholy…that something is missing from my hand and I always try to escape from this feeling and the winter afternoon as well. OMG! you made me so much nostalgic that I have shared so much about me and forgot to criticize your narrations! Lol! It’s indeed a nice post.

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  12. Thought provoking post and yes scent is definitely associated with memories and if we can’t pull the memory then it is felt sense. Fall in North America is my favorite season. Winter is dreaded although we get hardly any snow. Stay smiling

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