As Autumn Draws In


There is something about dusk on busy flyovers.
The man on the truck chewing the betel leftover of his wasteful day, the girl in school uniform on the edge, waiting for a bus, hair arced across her forehead in sweat, the two young flickering Naxalite men blowing wistful smoke into the dry wind, the aging man in his car wiping the crevices on his nose, that the horn-rimmed corporate world has grooved – everybody, before going home, goes home to dusk.

The colour grey is not simply an artist’s luxury or a photographer’s muse. When red withers, it withers to the colour grey. When blue withers, it withers to the colour grey. Blue, red, green may be colours, but grey is an omnipresence.
A journey can take many forms, but the end is a primordial truth.
Home is where there is comfort from pain. Dusk is where the pain is felt, relished, described. Home is where you ascertain if what you felt was black or white. Dusk is where you are draped in the silk of the many hues of grey.
This is why I love autumn. My grandfather would have called autumn the season of festivities. I found in his old cupboard a tiny, decayed book of essays. One of the essays described spring, and how it is the representation of the mirth of an artist, when creativity renounces order and technique and the world rejoices in an upturned palette of colours.
It made me want to write back to that ancient essayist whose name I must have come across in an antique corner of a library, that if spring is the physical manifestation of the ripeness of creativity, then autumn is the scenic expression of the artist herself.

Oil painting by Leonid Afremov
Oil painting by Leonid Afremov

I have an innate craving to visit places in the far West where autumn is felt in all its glory. I want to see the golden shriveled up remains of the year’s youth floating in the wind and waiting for feet to walk on them, as the act of pressing the leaves beneath our boots would not signify malice, but involvement – touching and feeling the remains of what we have created for three hundred days.
Because the sound of the crackling leaves will be the sound of nostalgia, and walking home in dusk, I would think about everything that thrives in the grey fibre of our mind, every unwritten thought that winds around the spine of our intellect like grapevines, that as many times we ferment the muses into poetry, somehow, they linger. Infinite.
As autumn draws in, my immediate world would erupt into festivities. The sky will glisten an unparalled shade of blue. The air will wear an exquisite perfume of excitement.
The man on the truck has an obscure nasal track playing, the girl in school uniform is smiling, the two young men will be leaving the city, the corporate man has fallen sleep.
Half-light settles on a particularly Victorian scene over Sealdah bridge, where the street flows a thousand heads towards a set of common weary houses, and the clock tower tells time, from an era when it used to function.
Finally, that is what a grey dusk in autumn summarizes – an explosion of nostalgia, a sudden halting of traffic, in the whirring engines of time.



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