Autumn, my favourite of English seasons (my favourite of English poets made sure of that) is here.
But Fall of Bengal is quite different from Fall in England.
I hear the Maple tree at the corner of the garden I haven’t yet seen has turned colour. I’m hoping it’ll hold on to some of its brittle russet leaves till I reach. I hope when he’s showing me around my home, my husband will open the conservatory door and I’ll have my fill of gazing at a pile of leaves shed around its trunk, not completely desolate still.
I can imagine myself curled up on the sofa, cupping a warm coffee mug in hand, snuggled in a wrap, listening to rain on the conservatory roof. Or staring vacant at the icicles peeping over the eave. I’ve loved the idea of a conservatory since ma bought that worn Ideal Homes from the pavement outside Grand Hotel. Little did I know, those many years ago, a childish longing could so powerfully conjure one into my life.
As I go about the city of my birth on these last few shopping errands, the roads are welcoming an Autumn all its own. Bamboo stilts are choking the path of my vehicle in the swerving lanes. Pujo, in its newest avatar of commercialization, is being announced from banners strung across town. Mere celebration is no longer enough, each locality is advertising its paraphernalia of specialties. The three-hundred years’ legacy is no longer de facto, many have felt the need for de rigor underlining.
My routes are uncomfortably hemmed in by popular shopping districts and traffic jams, like everything else in this city, have to be dealt with in summary lassitude. The driver is paid by the hour, the list of unaccomplishable chores ticked off mentally. I cover myself in smoke and small talk, gazing at the streets I shall never again chance to see casually whenever I step out. The Pujo banners tell me once more how my city has changed. Calcutta in my forty-first year isn’t the same sohor my dad had taken my mom through in a taxi to the maternity ward one Bijoya Dashami.
“Why did she have to leave before Pujo?” whispers rise through the home walls.
A daughter comes home in Autumn in Bengal, not leaves.
Some years are eventful. Some years are events. Here’s come one that’s promised, and threatened, to rock my lifeboat out of course forever.
Time for new beginnings, one of many.