Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Every year, some time in March, around morning time, I  feel happy for no reason. It is not happiness exactly but a feeling of lightness and optimism, a mildly intense energy and a mildly intense  desire to do something like travelling or playing or reading or cooking or some activity. I have tried to analyze why I get this sudden burst of lightness and energy every spring on one day. (Sometimes this feeling comes on more than once. But it is always in the morning hours, before 9) 
Is it because I am depressed during winter( maybe I am a mild case of SAD or seasonal affective disorder) and there is something in spring which triggers some biological mechanism in my brain? Does the sound of the birds, which was sort of missing over winter, have an effect on me? Or is it the bright blue sky coupled with the increase in temperature, the warm sunlight in the spring morning which opens up some 'happy' chamber in my head?
In India, a certain indefinable but distinct smell would trigger this feeling in me at springtime. It is a lovely smell  in the air outside….whether this smell is caused by the plants, trees and flowers or the soil I do not know. But this fragrence signalled the start of spring and summer to me and it also evoked these  feelings of energy, optimism and happiness. Usually I got this smell, only once and rarely more than once(in a year). It was a smell that came in with the early morning breeze through the windows at dawn. It was a bit earthy but I got this smell even in an urban place like Bangalore. This spring smell is different from the ‘totally’ earthy and heavenly smell one gets in Bangalore when it rains. Since I could smell this hevanly odor only once a year, for a few brief moments you can imagine, how precious this ephemeral sensation is to me!
I got that spring-feeling today i.e. March 7th, 2012  in Toronto. It was 

 that sudden burst
 of energy, optimism, lightness and excitement…for no reason. I wish I could capture that wonderful feeling and give it to others so they experience it themselves and know what I mean.

This wonderful fragrance also evoked from my memory,  poems I read in childhood which always evoked delightful ‘summertime’ & ‘holidays-from-school’ feelings ! The summertime-summer-holiday feeling is one of indescribable happiness, especially for someone like me who hated school , hated the punitive teachers and  difficult subjects such as science, maths, social studies, Hindi and Kannada!
I don’t think of these poems all year and suddenly they are in my head at spring-time! Spring time also reminds me of a few lovely pictures from the English poetry book, I had in school. I hope to add those poems and pictures to this piece, some time when I find them.
Spring time also triggers a different set of day-dreams and fantasies in my head. I day-dream the same stuff, year after year, with nary a change! I fantasize being alone in some remote place like an island, in a hammock tied to a tree, either reading or writing. I also fantasize going for long walks in dark forests and  in valleys; I think of walking along brooks, exploring caves and climbing mountains. I think of exploring old abandoned forts in the hills of Chitradurga & Tumkur. Exploring old ruins of temples and palaces in the various parts of India is another activity I think of in spring. For some reason, spring-time does not remind me of the sea or beaches. A new daydream added to my list recently is mining for precious gems and gold panning ! A day-dream I had in the past at spring time was collecting birds nests especially the lovely weaver bird nests in thorny trees and in wells. Now I realize it is cruel to collect the nests, especially the new ones and I dont even think of it.
I had mentioned in an earlier blog that every year, at the start of spring, I have at least one vivid and terrible nightmare involving exams!  I suppose this nightmare occurs at this time as I  had exams around March-April, almost my entire student life. And though I no longer have to write any exams, the dread seems to be permanently embedded in my sub-conscious and is roused every spring!
Well. This year I have not yet had that terrible nightmare. And hopefully I will escape it this year as I thought of it before it came in my dreams. These nightmares are so scary, that I wake up with my heart thumping and it takes me a while to accept it is only a dream! The worst one is where I have given back my degrees and decided to study science  and I fail and I end up having neither the old Arts &Humanities degrees or the new Science degree! Another nightmare is one where I have not attended a single class the entire year and I cant even recognize the questions or the content ...during the exam! 

Will I ever get over this academic phobias ? Are there others like me who have this academic phobia at middle age? I pray that every child enjoys school and does not dread academics like I did.

Some more nice times I remember from childhood summer holidays are that of finishing breakfast, taking a nice Enid Blyton book to the roof and reading  until it was too hot or I was too sleepy. Then I would come in to cool off or sleep. While on the roof,  I would read, pausing now and then, to watch  the  grey  lizards and the bigger colourful  ones scampering by  or the birds soaring in the bright blue skies above. The shrill screaming of the squirrels too would startle me at times. 
 I stopped my reading at times, to  search for woodroses hidden in the dense foliage spread over the roof and walls ;I was thrilled  when I found these lovely(but dead-looking or woody looking) flowers hidden in some part of the wildly growing creeper (and this woodrose creeper destroyed our roof and walls with humidity!).
Reading on the roof with a pillow between me and the wall, under a tiny shady spot, with a plate of  guava slices smeared with salt  & chilli powder beside me is still my idea of heaven.

Waiting for the fruit(guavas, mangoes, etc) and icecream vendors to pass by on the street, yelling their wares is another thing I remember with fondness.

I think I liked all aspects of spring and summer except the start of school !

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