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My Weird Autumn Vibes
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My Weird Autumn Vibes

Majestic willow, poplar, chinar and other gigantic trees, losing their verdure to gusty wafts of autumn winds, would not simply make them bald, but would fill our hearts with euphoria of absolute freedom and nonchalance

Post by MUSHTAQ HURRA on Monday, October 17, 2022

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When slanting rays of mildly cold autumn's evening sun, penetrate deep through the red rich foliage of chinar trees, the dense scarlet coloured frondescence of the mammoth chinar trees turn blazingly beautiful and bewitching. The sight earnestly stirs the treasure trove of memories from the canvas of my childhood reminiscences. It promptly takes me down my memory lane, and dozens of freaky yet precious remembrances of old autumn days drive me crazy and nostalgic. Glittering golden-green leafage of tall trees during ripe autumn days, used to throb our hearts for a weird reason. Though as a young boy, I was not conscious about the beguiling beauty of trees and other sources of natural prettiness; but, mellow autumn would certainly add a sense of insouciance to my instincts, because it was the time when exam fever was over, with the culmination of our annual examinations.


Majestic willow, poplar, chinar and other gigantic trees, losing their verdure to gusty wafts of autumn winds, would not simply make them bald, but would fill our hearts with euphoria of absolute freedom and nonchalance. The bare trees would mean that the pleasantly warm days of autumn would no more hitch us to the pegs of school. Those days would announce leisure, amusement and recreation to our vibes. Termination of annual school examinations in October, would free us from the chains of virtual slavery and bondage of studies, though it would not last for more than a few weeks. I don't know if luxurious monarchs of the past had ever enjoyed such insouciant and contented occasions which were gifted to us during our juvenescence days in general and the autumn days in particular.


Completion of our yearly examinations would shift our destinations from schools to play fields. But, we would never carry out our cherished games-time in the open playground of our village, rather would throng a big orchard, hardly at a stone's throw away from our village. Unrestrained entry into the orchard was subject to the complete reaping of its apple harvest. Once the apple trees were freed from the red harvest, we would make our way into it. Besides playing cricket, we would take our milking cows and their calves to graze there. Playing in the natural ambience of apple trees, was not less a blessing for us. A group of our friends used to climb the apple trees to pick the omitted apples. They were not lesser than adept and adroit hunters who would hardly fail to pounce upon their prey.


I, my pals and siblings would crowd the big orchard, locally called Pehel Bagh, because it belonged to the Wagays of Yadipora Sopore. The caretaker of the orchard was immensely benevolent and compassionate. I don't remember a single incidence of his scold or admonishment to us. His wife who was originally from Kalarus Kupwara, had a typical Pahadi ( Mountain ) accent, and we were quite afraid of her shouts. Her visit to the orchard would scare us, and we used to flee away, often leaving our assets viz Pherans and sweaters there. But, she was quite generous and affectionate. She probably wanted to spend time with us because her lap was empty. Cruel hands of death had snatched her only child at an early age. The gentle couple passed away with no heir of their own. May Allah elevate their ranks in Jannah!



Well, playing cricket in the big orchard during autumn days was our favourite pastime. We had not the privilege to grip machine made bats in our hands. So, we would play cricket with our homemade bats. My younger brother was adept in chiseling wooden planks and pieces into bats. He was pampered and admired by every young boy of our vicinity, for this unique skill. I have some cherished memories of spending my childhood days in the big orchard. Once, I, my brother and my friends hatched a conspiracy to steal a fifty rupee note from my grandmother's possession. One day, when my father was not at home, and my grandmother was busy in fetching water from the public tap of our Mohalla, my brother and I plundered the treasure. Later, we were reprimanded and corporally punished for this misadventure.


Though, now, I no more cross the thorny fence of the orchard, but it has come closer to me than the earlier, because it is simply a peep away from the window of my balcony, situated at the second storey of my house. A glance through the window of my house refreshes everything before my eyes. The proximity with my old companion has safeguarded the canvas of my memories from the possible erosion of time. Bundles of sweet memories attributed with the marvellous land of fruit trees, often swells my chest up with pride and pleasure. Big old trees in the orchard have suffered the pangs of aging which I used to climb during spring season, to spot nests of ring-doves and nightingales. I too, like the apple trees, have begun to face the atrocious brunt of aging. My hair has started to turn grey. So, the agent of aging has caught us parallel to each other though our old friendship has ended.


Very recently, while driving past the big orchard, to visit the labourers working in our paddy fields, I saw my son and his friends playing in the same orchard. I stopped my car for a while, not to see the cricketing skills of my son, but the scenes moistened my eyes, because I had some unprecedented adventures and misadventures there. I vividly remember how I used to wrangle and bicker with my pals and siblings, there. This was the place where we used to meet frequently, to discuss different plans and strategies regarding our cricketing endeavors. A bet of rupees two would intensify our rivalry to cash the bet price. Since boundary walls were not marked there, so, heated argument were often witnessed during our matches, particularly boundary disputes to declare fours and sixes were repeatedly seen during our heroics with bat and ball. Ah ! The bygone sugary and sweet childhood vibes.



(Author is a Teacher and Rising Kashmir Columnist. He can be reached at mushtaqhurra143@gmail.com)

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