It was December again. These cold winters called out in symphony for the sun to seem more golden. Its light gleamed through the haze in the air. It broke the walls of this thick haze and shone its priceless beauty, which was only visible to few. Some lucky and fortunate, who looked up at the world and were unafraid of being called a different human. It was the season of shivers and quivers and also of grandma’s knitted sweaters, well, at least for me. The trees seemed to look pleasantly beautiful, even its bareness had charm and comeliness; it was very well captured in the eyes of the lenses exhibiting almost everywhere, though of course, now, digitally. The twinkling lights of the stars at night and the smiles in the morning, was mundane in this season. The postcards and the love -letters sent during this season always created a task for the postmen or maybe, I am mistaken. The breeze incessantly spoke, about, how exciting it was for her to have Christmas in her life.
Christmas was always the best time of the year, for me, since childhood. No matter how much I tried to stop the breeze from talking but she would go on with her declamation and would never stop; never. The snow-cladded roofs made the neighborhood to remind themselves that the best time of the year is here again. The birds migrated and sang a special winter song, which delighted the commoners who woke up early in the morning to have a glimpse of them, that action being uncommon. The flowers had an indifferent reaction, they smiled, like always. This was also the time I could sense the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla rising up in the air and inviting me to every home in the alley, which if accepted would have been called as intrusion, of course.
Winters welcomed the warmth of the fire from the fireplace, sending the vibe of care and comfort to the hearth where my heart belonged. Winter is also the time when nostalgia visited and reminded me about the fine childhood that I cannot revisit, ever again.
It was late in the evening. I had been busy decorating my house and also the Christmas tree. This time too, like all the other recent years, I was very late to catch up with the rest of the world for the celebration. I must have been the last one on the street to begin with the preparations. My apartment is not very huge but a sufficient and a very decent place to live in. I had started with the decorations in the afternoon, yet here I was, in all attempts to make my house as a replication to the home I once grew up in but these glass walls would never let it to seem that way; the snowflake decoration, the red sock, the shining lights, the Christmas tree and what not.
I was done with supper. I bought Chinese food that night. I recalled my attempts as a child to bake. When I was a child, about twelve years of age, every evening during this time, would be another experiment in the kitchen. We baked two cakes every evening. One prepared by my mother and the other solely by me. One day I would create honey and cinnamon cake and maybe the other day, chocolate chip cake and so went my endless experiments. The results of these experiments which took place in my kitchen would then be the dinner that evening. I enjoyed every dinner this season. I used to cross my fingers as the time to take the cake out of the oven would eventually approach. The cakes for Christmas, which I used to manage to bake would result in being nearly next to perfect. I was usually appreciated by my parents, they called me a perfectionist; I always thought they lied, about my baking. My mother is very good at baking though. She gave me her secret tips on how to achieve a perfect cake, much appreciated. The world was perfect with baked cakes in it, you know. Sadly my brothers cursed me when the cake would be perfect, or as they called it- “inedible” but they would always manage to finish it all, even the crumbs. Nothing remained, I knew that they lied every time when they ate the cake I made.
The tips and tricks that my mother gave me; its appreciation is now fading. It is not being valued as much, now they are just mere words that I once called as tricks written in my book which is placed somewhere in my bookshelf. I do try to make time to apply these tricks, but time for anything is now very difficult to create. It was good when I was a child; out in the open— carefree. It was a perfect world back then.
The black screen stared at me as I ate noodles. The television played an insignificant role, to me. It played and would replay the world’s miseries on it. “Is that even really necessary?” I always wondered. I bought my dinner that night from – yoko, my nearest help for food emergencies. All my dinners were spent at my workplace or in another country all together; maybe a sandwich or a bowl of salad, packed as my dinner. After dinner I got back to the significant boxes which when opened flooded the floors with memories that I would then pick and call them as my own. My communion party, Adrian’s birthday pictures, letters mum wrote me, shells, pebbles that I called lucky, plastic jewels, Christmas and birthday greetings, the paper-windmill grandpa gave me and so many other things to reminisce about.
This reminded me of all the significant days. The Christmas that we spent at grandma’s place. The stars we gazed as we lay there on the green grass of the yard. The fights that we got in, to have a peep in the telescope. The times my brothers and I helped granny to decorate the gingerbread and the cupcakes she baked. The times we caught into a flour fight wherein attempts to make each other covered with flour was succeeded by all of my brothers. The scolding we got after the flour fights. Daniel taking away the best piece of my gingerbread. The singing and dancing at night to the tune of the guitar that daddy played after dinner. Writing on greeting cards that had to be sent to my uncles and aunts. The times when being surrounded by my extended family was very usual and common. And this got me back to reality, to the times when just my furniture and these boxes surrounded me.
Today too, I had woken up, I had felt the really cold floor numbing my feet. I had looked around, looked at my phone… Felt disappointed on seeing the umpteen messages that asked me to connect to the world; I felt so disconnected. The rays entering and paving its way through the long curtains. The rays made the white curtain seem yellow. I felt tired from the previous day’s work at office. I wanted to have some coffee, in order to start my day feeling less tired. I walked towards my kitchen put my kettle to boil and got back into my room motioned towards the balcony, drew the curtains open and could see the thick haze on the other side of the glass windows. I opened the windows, rested my forearms on the railing had a look outside onto the golden haze and recalled the memories from the yesteryears… I was always enslaved in my own memories.
Josh, Daniel, Ethan, Adrian and I visited my grandma’s every year, during this period of cool winters and visited the lake every morning, just us. We wore our sweaters that granny would knit for us. I usually wore sweaters in pink shades and tints. Grandma knew that I was a pink lover.
My love for pink was so evident back then that my wardrobe consisted ninety percent of my clothes in pink. Then later my disloyalty towards pink and sheer faithfulness to what the norms demanded by the outside, I chose to like all the colours in the rainbow. But today, if I were given an option and an opportunity to nominate the best colour; it would still be pink, even now, at the age of twenty-six. I guess no one’s ever too old to like pink and also to realize that norms were made only in favor of a single individual.
As I looked outside the balcony I leaned forward to have a closer look at the bird that chirped a song which was alien to my literate ears and surprising to see one at this height. I looked at the thick haze that made the roof tops golden and covered the scrappers in haze and blur. I rested my elbows on the balcony and travelled to recollect the winter morning, the one which looked similar to the one I experienced today morning; hazy, and golden in nature.
I was five, we had my granny’s famous – rich cake that she would bake, just for us. I felt special, I still do. And that would be it; our breakfast, early in the morning. After breakfast we would rush outside the house as soon as we were done. We ran towards the lake and would swing on the branches like little monkeys or throw pebbles at far distance in the water-body and looked at the ripples that formed. We sat under the shade of the tree and watched the sun grow bigger and brighter.
But that particular winter morning was different. That morning yet resides vivid in my memory and is unforgettable. We wore our footwear as soon as we got done with breakfast and rushed out of the house. I remember that I gulped down hot coffee along with my share of the cake. I reached the threshold and recollected about the paper-windmill that grandpa had given to me the previous evening.
Josh had Keith’s bicycles that morning to ride on. Keith, Josh’s friend, lived in the house next door to my granny’s. Adrian and I, ran behind the two bicycles. It was a hazy golden morning. That was the morning that Keith had promised us to take us to the “land of the unknown”. He led our way. We reached upon a hill where daffodils grew. It was beautiful. I was surrounded by overwhelming golden flowers. The lustrous sky added to the beauty of the land ahead of me. I was happy. I twirled in circles. It was a delight to be alive. The time crawled in a slow pace. I felt as though I could fly. It was as though life and I had a different relation. I felt the ease of being free. Complexity was at bay, far from this place as though it only belonged to mankind alone. I was in paradise.
I could feel my paper-windmill calling out to me and asking me, to listen carefully. I felt privileged. I sensed the breeze speaking to me; whispering to me. They whispered to me and I could hear them, clearly. They told me to forever be free. Since then, there is where I reside, in front of that golden light; lost and couldn’t be found.