Winter Speaks: A bone-chilling montage

Whether you love it or otherwise, the chilly weather is here for us. Yes, winter is here. For some, winter is all about enjoying the picturesque panorama and appreciating nature in all its beauty – snow fights, snow arts, snow sports, frozen lakes and the festive season. For others, winter depicts harshness, mourning, longing, sadness, despair, silence, pain, torture, death and detachment. So, there is a sort of love-hate relationship between the two.

For a majority of people, winter means snow and it is only the snowy part of the season that makes one endure the long chilly winter months. But to a few, snow is not a spectacle that brings joy but is a smothering blanket by all means. They keep watching the floating flakes falling soundlessly from the heavens, drifting against their window panes, kissing the trees gently, flowering the fields with a white quilt, filling the surroundings with an aura of bewitching beauty (as perceived by others) but their hearts with pain and distress. Because this white quilt alludes to the shrouds in which their loved ones were wrapped for burial. The snowflakes are no cotton candies for them but the tears left frozen for all times to come. The deafening silence accompanying the snowfall is absolutely not quiescent. Pay a little attention to it; you will hear all sorts of cacophonous sounds- shrieks, wails, loud cries and the groaning voices coming from your minds. This blanket ain’t white for those whose blooming buds have been crushed and trodden. For them it snows blood and tears. White ceases to be the symbol of peace and beauty but represents conflict, bloodshed and damp darkness.

This iciness brings back with it the memories of the cherished past, some bygone tales, some erstwhile travails, some fresh wounds, some new miseries added with the thoughts of future creating all such accounts into a bone-chilling montage. Everything under the sky draped by the snow has a poignant tale to tell that will continue to haunt them for long. Let the flying birds narrate their ordeal that are starving and shivering while seeking shelter under the eaves, or inside thick hedges or tree holes. Ask the drooping trees to share their pain who are mourning silently for their fallen leaves while simultaneously trying to withstand the weight of the snow that has broken them down. Look at the fields, meadows and gardens; the snow dunes and the eerie silence make them no less than graveyards. The rooftops are equally burdened and want to get rid of this heavy cover. The duvet on the windowpanes obscures the vision. The untraversable pathways too reflect the upsetting narratives. Those snow clad mountains, those frozen streams and lakes, those hanging icicles, all have harrowing stories to share. All have internalized the pain and anguish that will certainly not go.

As the winter speaks; against the shimmering shrouds of snow, my pen bleeds the following verses depicting the plight of those whose lives have been in shambles because of the loss of their dearest ones and also those who are waiting for the return of their trampled roses to be buried in their own gardens.

O Beloved! My Beloved!

Can you see these half-frozen rivulets?

Or do I need to tear asunder my body

And show you how the blood flows

Through my frozen alleys?

Can you see these ice-covered rocks?

Or do I need to rip open my chest

And show you how my red badge

Is in the clutches of the ice?

Can you see these crackling green trees?

Or do I need to show you how

Am I breathing with my crackling lungs

And moving on with my fossilized bones?

Can you see these snow-clad mountains?

Or do I need to show you my face

Which has turned snowy in your absence?

But some still find beauty in it.

Can you see the icicles formed to these Waterfalls?

Or do I need to show you

My eyes with frozen tears and

Quiescent lips left numb till eternity?

O Beloved! My Beloved!

Can you even feel the onset of winter?

I can see the winter coming on.

I unbosom my heart to the cold breeze

That came tapping my face, kissing my lips

And touching my hands and feet.

It knows our story and all my secrets.

I plead her to carry me in her arms

And drop me home in your lap.

If not me, at least these verses I write for you.

My withered heart craves peace and the sun.

Shall I ever get back the sunshine?

Will you bring me the peace I long for?

Will you ever be mine again?


Winter has enveloped us and snow has swaddled us leaving us drab and defunct. If we look at it through the negative lens, that’s all we could see. The melancholic aura will keep hovering and lingering on. But, if we change the lens and see through the brighter side of it, only then we would be able to see that like all other things, winter has its perks too. No doubt everything is chilly and snowy around but we cannot afford to let this chill and our own fears dominate and intimidate us. Remember that winter is just one of the cycles and sun will again shine bright after the end of this season. It’s the perfect time to sit back and reflect on the past and let go of the things that have the tendency to drown you, think of the present and make resolutions and plans for the future. So, come out of your hibernation and cosy rooms, throw away the heavy quilts cloaking you, go out and start shovelling the snow-blocked tracks to make way for you and others traversing. Last but not the least, never forget the most oft-quoted verse of Percy Bysshe Shelley: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Tubah Shah is a Postgraduate in English Literature.