Friday, 6 March 2015

An eventful February and the advent of spring..

February in this part of the world that we live in, has always been a season of change. As students, it was that part of the year when our academic session would close, we would write our exams and wait for our promotion to the next class. When life taught us to appreciate the seasons of the year, February marked the beginning of Spring. February coincides with the month of Falgun as per the Hindu calender and augurs a time of festivities all over the country. As a student of economics in the University, February meant the economic budget and year long repercussions of the same. Even on the personal front, February marked a time of family celebration as we would gather to celebrate the anniversary of our parents. As if it was not enough, me and A tied the knot in this very month and later welcomed little N into our lives at this time of the year. 2015 was no exception.

Little N's birthday Winnie-the-Pooh inspired birthday cake
Before February could even knock on our door, the season of change had begun. It was not the first time that I had to change assignments in the month of February. Thankfully, the same did not involve any change of places this year. Yet, when it comes to 'moving' of any kind or at any time, I become a living example of the 'Law of Inertia' and its always the bonds which unite humans, that I find most difficult to deal with. It was not easy saying goodbye to all those fabulous people who had brought up my daughter since she was 7 months old, who helped us move houses, who worked extra hours to keep their commitments and who did much more than their job title demanded of them. Needless to mention, they become family for life.

Much as I believe, my stint as an academician was truly wonderful in terms of fulfillment of my personal and professional commitments, nothing can compare with the sense of satisfaction one achieves while working in a social sector program. Nothing could be a bigger education than working in the education sector in a state as huge as ours. Thanks to a wonderful and committed team, it took no time settling in and barely a month later as I write these words, it feels as if its always been an integral part of my existence and I always belonged here. At precisely these times, I strongly feel, much as government in our country faces bricks and bats for anything under the sun, the devotion of these unsung soldiers who chart the country's progress can not be acknowledged in terms of being on the government payroll alone.

Change of assignments apart, the month of February is also considered auspicious for weddings (that explains ours too!) and celebrations and hence one could easily correlate the same with a packed social calender. Add to that the responsibility of contributing in every-which-way to our annual service week, and we end up juggling our roles as parents who have to organize their child's birthday and as not-so-senior members of a service that we are proud to be part of and feel committed to contribute to in every possible manner. Our experience last year had equipped us with a fair idea of how things are to be managed and neither A nor me found it difficult shuttling between lunches and dinners and yet be able to choose a design and place the order for a wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh cake for little N's second birthday. And yes, service week also brings its own sets of rewards as we ended up winning a Nikon camera, a  power-bank and a 500 GB hard drive as prizes for our entries in the Photography Competition.

Our submissions for the service week Photography Competition

The biggest event however remains little N's birthday (the fact that we too completed six years of marital harmony this year is often relegated to the category of 'mundane' in the larger scheme of things!). While N's both sets of grandparents could not join us for the celebration, N still ended up spending her day with the people she loves most. The fact that Mamma took an off from work was of little significance as she was surrounded by the love and blessings of those familiar faces who have seen her grow each day and have contributed immensely to the same. These generous souls have not just kept our lives chugging smoothly since our arrival in Lucknow but also showered their affection and care upon our little one which was not part of their 'duty' from any stretch of imagination. The only guests who were 'invited' for the birthday party were two little playmates of little N she grew up with in our old house and who still visit her on play dates in the new one. The day was a truly memorable one for us as well. While our zero-guest-policy did not bog us down with the formalities of preparing and serving food and drinks, the fact that little N was also exultant in the company of her own set of people (and wasn't intimidated by the presence of too many strangers in the house) was a blessing for our little family.

Each day we are thankful to the Almighty for our small cocooned existence spun by webs of happiness and contentment.But above all, we are thankful to our family and friends, who have stood by us over all these years , showered us with unconditional love and welcomed our little one into their lives. And now, the little story about advent of spring..

In my older posts, I have often mentioned of our memories of places being entwined with the flora and fauna around us. Yet, a special story that I am reminded of remains unsaid. In the February of 2013, barely 2 days before the arrival of our little one into this world, we too had newly arrived in the city of Lucknow. Strangers to this city as we were back then, and newly shifted to our one BHK accomodation, little else as I could do at that point of time, sitting on our (newly purchased) bed, I would look listlessly at the life outside our huge glass windows. On day one, as the sun was about to set, I remembered a tree at a little distance, with a slight tinge of red on top. Back then I thought, it could be a new leaf gleaming in the orange light of the fading sun or some resplendent bird from the riverbank nearby. Next day, as I was preparing to go to the hospital for the last medical check before the big day, I noticed a small red flower as if it was some omen about the impending arrival of our little one. A week later, by the time I returned from the hospital with the baby, the entire tree was full of red blooms and it was then I realized it was a Palash tree (Flame of the Forest) in its full glory marking the advent of spring. Over the next couple of months, that tree was some kind of an anchor of my faith while I made the slow but difficult transition into parenthood. And over these months, the tree took roots in my heart forever. Looking back, I fondly reminisce about the same tree growing outside Cauvery hostel in JNU and covering the narrow road in a lovely shade of red. Or the lovely forest of Palash on both sides of the NH connecting Chitrakoot to Allahabad which stretches for miles on end and is often the only splash of color against a dreary landscape in summers. Today, as I travel to office each day, I look forward to the crimson canopy of the Palash growing outside CO Mahanagar's office and I often wonder how long will it continue to thrive on one of the busiest thoroughfares of Lucknow. To borrow the words of Stefanie Brook Trout, to me the true nature of the tree no longer is "in the bulk of its shape but in the way its form alters my vision of the world".

As our trio (me, A and N) completes two years of our stay in Lucknow, and we live each day like none before- watching mini adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, baking fresh cakes and pastas and spending time with family and friends, I often imagine myself asking my two kids (the older one and the little one), the words I reproduce below:

Would you like some warm Spring pie?
Then, take a cup of clear blue sky.
Stir in buzzes from a bee,
Add the laughter of a tree.

A dash of sunlight should suffice
To give the dew a hint of spice.
Mix with berries, plump and sweet.
Top with fluffy clouds, and eat!” 

― Paul F. Kortepeter, Holly Pond Hill: A Child's Book of Easter


  1. Another beautiful composition dear.. poetic almost.. Belated blessings to little N! Tell me something, do you really remember all these quotes and poems from the books you read?!

  2. Thanks A.. I don't really remember the whole lines but yes I remember the import and some keywords.. The rest fits in thanks to Google!! Thanks again for being a regular..