The pale gold shrivelling sun, the ephemeral warmth in the air and the innate melancholy – Autumn is disembarking to six months of dark but passionate cold.
Vast stubble fields, rewards of harvest, misty mornings, russet fluttering leaves, the aroma of the burning foliage, singing of cicada insects and the uncompromising evanescent quality of life – incredible Harud owns it all.
Coming with a distinct flavour and fragrance, autumn manifests detachment-delusion, love-loss, hope-handicap, passion-pain, silence-storm.
The cycle of degeneration and regeneration holds much more than being a mere expression of death and life. Autumn air has a cathartic effect. Autumn womb carries poetry and philosophy; for eyes to read and hearts to feel.
As I sit back - mind wandering through sunless sombre lanes and hands scribbling something, my eyes reel at the heart-penetrating autumn of 2017. Loaded with a sack of dead dreams amidst divided dramas, I got a chance to visit a popular town.
Up North. Those 30 miles from Srinagar passed within few blinks. Unable to decode what the Divine had desired, I escaped to spiritual Sopore. I was discovering the already discovered. A special reason of why I connect Sopore with Autumn; an unfortunate event has unfolded 29 years ago.
In 2017, while Sopore breathed Autumn, this lover-in-loss breathed Sopore. Thus, the fall vibe hits differently here. Autumn – more than a leaf-drop at my place. The journey begins.
Just scores of horse carts, famous fruit mandi and a sea of simple Soporians, it felt a populated paradise. Humility was their description. Innocence brimmed in their eyes. Warm and welcoming were their arms. Normal walking human bodies mesmerised me. There was something deeper and higher than Mini London Waali Feeling.
From young boys loading apple carton boxes on vehicles to middle aged women, in the periphery, carrying Guihh Phott, every plain activity caught my attention. As I moved towards the outskirts, the term ‘Rural/Gaam’ made a very decent sense.
Autumn effect prevailed everywhere. The sight of romantic golden harvest-stocked fields made the journey wholesome. The apple aroma added spice to my senses. The sight of laborious villagers toiling in the fields; giving their sweat and blood was an arrow on my fatigue and sluggishness. I wondered where does the regional divide stem from.
Why a second-class treatment given to the ones living far from secretariat. Why shameless slanders like “Groos, Gujjur, Dangar.” Why considering a villager as mortal of a lesser God. Why obnoxious Gaam-Shahar debate persisting unabated. Mind-numbing hypocrisy. Head clogging discrimination.
Shifting the window of my mind, the blazing Chinars were standing tall and proud – projecting how many secrets of seasons they know. The gushing rivulets – portraying how life flows, carrying anything coming its way. From a town, Sopore became an instant emotion.
The wheels rolled to Watlab (16 km North -East of Sopore) soon. No murkiness in the sky, the sun radiated sweet warmth. The narrow and bumpy road ascended towards the mausoleum of His Holiness – Baba Shukur ud Din Wali.
The saint stayed in Kraale Sangri on the command of Godfather Sheikh Noor ud Din Wali. Known as Topandaz e Kashmir; he had the power of neutralising evils. Silence and solace guard the place. The breeze carries a different oxygen.
The rhythmic chirping of birds carries eloquence. The devotee deluge is rare. A perfect spot for meditation, Kraale Sangri overlooks Wular Lake. Lake dying- unsung, unwept and unheard. The day is not far when this ailing microcosm will vomit all Zarr o Sitamm. We are bound to drown deep.
The clock was ticking fast; the good day coming to an end. I wanted to stay forever but literature says “Forever Is Never’’. With dewy eyes, I started retreating back, unwillingly. My stomach was empty but heart satiated. Nothing less than a classic experience. Four autumns have passed since then, the tranquillity of Sopore flows through my veins. Inhaling Sabr, exhaling Shukur and reminiscing my ‘’autumn date’’ with Sopore.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.