Actually, for a Karachiite, winter is already here, with temperatures tipsily tipping into the negatives late at night. I mean, when you feel the need to wear two bottoms, you know it is cold.
This is always the season when I tell people that we need to invent a nose-warmer because scarves and hats and earmuffs are not enough and for some reason my nose always gets really cold. It feels as if I have an ice cube stuck to my face. And the standard response is usually, look it up, it’s probably already been invented, and my dreams of a patented nose-patch are easily crushed and swept away till next winter.
I realized it was time to stop watching Suits endlessly and turn to writing because the leaves are dying, and I hadn’t even typed up my gushing tribute to Autumn/Fall. I was surprised when the trees started changing color and all of a sudden the palettes had changed from green to yellows and reds. (Mainly because it felt cold and I thought it was already winter.)
But, the permanent goose bumps and sniffles were a back story to the breathtaking landscape that would run past in the windows of the bus to the city. God really is the coolest artist – it really seemed to be a careful piece of art with the green trees giving way to a bright yellow, darkening to a burnt orange, russet and then the fiery red that would suffuse the crispy leaves in radiance. Nothing arbitrary about it – the colors perfectly fading one into the other like a meticulously crafted shade card. There is something special about trees in so many colors – I mean, flowers are pretty too and Spring is nice when blue and pink and orange and purple all sprout up from the ground. But when the trees change from their everyday green to russet or red, there is something more majestic about it.
I find leaves kinder than flowers somehow. There is something more thoughtful about the transformation.
It’s time for a makeover, they murmur, stretching and shaking out last night’s sleep as the wind yawns through the branches, should we go with red or a bonfire orange, they whisper, maybe start with a bright yellow, almost the color of the young green when the sun strikes them early morning… and then we’ll take it from there…
And every night when the world is asleep, the tiny painter fairies and artsy elves come, starting from the edges of the trees, and the edges of the leaves – and so we see the magic, leaves that are bordered red, yellow in between and the green still there at the heart … and then just like that, one day the painters go on a frenzy and we wake up to entire trees drenched in bright reds and romantic oranges.
And as the breeze blows, one leaf touches the other, spreading the color, the love, the orange and the red, like a line of children with ink-stained hands holding hands.
Do you think it’s time, they ask a couple of weeks into Autumn, let’s see, and a leaf, one, two, three, flutters to the ground, landing on auburn hair or a child’s hat, startling, surprising, making someone smile as they look up and get distracted from their worrying thoughts of missed buses and overspent budgets, and think, hey, that looks really pretty.
And the leaves sigh and sacrifice themselves, falling in bunches to the ground, carpeting bumpy sidewalks and dirt-lined paths so that little kids in pink boots can run through them and we can walk across the crackling yellow, crunching little bursts of happiness on cold days.
So it’s been a lovely Autumn, and I am sad to see it go. Already the trees are looking bare, with just clumps of bright leaves left, and the branches thin and stiff, like pouty teenagers just standing there. The days have become short – the sun is too cold to come out before 7:30 am and too damned lazy to stay up for that long. By the time its 5pm its dark and you want to be back in your cosy home eating dinner because it feels like 8.
The good thing is I started work so now I have diversified from cleaning the house and haunting the library to actually going in to office. It’s a pretty cool organisation and I’m all set to learn lots of new stuff and hopefully manage to benefit my employers too.
The bad thing is that it is as awful to wake up at 7:15 am as I remember it. Except now the world outside of our gigantic furnace-like comforter is cold. And more often than not, it is cloudy and the sky is being cruel and sending down a fine misty spray on our faces, it’s to wake you up, it seems to say with an evil smile.
But the gooder thing is that it’s part-time so I work three days a week and am supposed to have a long weekend, which feels good (if I can ignore the list of household chores assigned by myself).
So I guess we can end on the brighter note – here’s to having jobs not (just) because you get to be productive and have an opportunity to contribute to the world, but mainly because now you can really value and enjoy your days off.