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Posts Tagged ‘spring season’

Ugadi, one of India’s New Year festivals, falls on Saturday, March 21st, this year.

Here’s to novel experiences, shared moments, countless possibilities!

Originally posted on March 22, 2012

“Aren’t all beginnings new?” asks one character of another in a book I read recently.

I guess they are and they aren’t, depending on how you look at it.

What better season than spring to contemplate beginnings, old and new? Tuesday the 20th of March marked the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere of the Earth: essentially, the first day of spring season.

All around me I see signs of new life: pale green leaves unfurling, bulbs pushing shoots out of rain-soaked earth, birds shedding downy winter coats, the skies newly scrubbed and polished.

Most cultures around the world celebrate the arrival of spring in different ways. Where I come from—the southeastern part of India, where people follow a lunar calendar for observing religious days—spring means a fresh start. We usher in the season with a New Year’s festival called Ugadi (the word translates to “Beginning of a new age/era”).

Hinduism believes that a human life is full only if it experiences the gamut of emotions in the right proportions. On Ugadi, everyone—child and adult alike—begins his/her day by eating a mixture or chutney made of six ingredients:

  • Jaggery, (similar to brown sugar, made from sugar cane) which is sweet, signifies happiness
  • Bitter neem flower petals stand in for sorrow
  • Thinly sliced hot, green peppers remind us of anger
  • Savory salt takes the place of fear
  • Tamarind paste (which is sour) marks revulsion or hatred
  • Tangy pieces of unripe mango emphasize surprises

This chutney—a delicious explosion of bold flavors and textures—essentially is a reminder that life is a fusion of experiences. This tradition encourages everyone to accept what is doled out to him/her in life with equanimity.

Tomorrow, which is whenUgadi is celebrated this year, I intend to begin my day with a few spoonfuls of this chutney.

Do you celebrate the beginning of spring or the end of winter? If yes, please share the details with us!

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She encourages, she cajoles, she lures. She commands, she hustles, she coerces. If all else fails, she won’t think twice about using threats and bribes to get me off my back side and to work.

Who am I talking about? My ultimate taskmistress, Spring season.

This is the longest lasting spring in my 15+ years of living in this part of the world. The season usually lasts, at the most, for measly three or so weeks, and leaves behind faint memories of early morning dew and balmy afternoons in its wake.

Each year, I keep hoping that spring – however brief its existence –  has a mellower effect on me. I’d love to recline in a hammock in my shady backyard snacking on a lovely mystery novel, a glass of pink lemonade sweating on a table next to me.

Yeah, right! Every year spring becomes a stricter taskmistress than the year before.

She wrinkles her nose and says, “Look at your garden, weeds choking my poor seedlings. And don’t even mention the hedges! A disgrace to even call them by that name.”

I can’t so much as admire the flowers in a neighbor’s garden without Miss. Snooty jumping at me. “If only you spent some time on your flower beds, you wouldn’t have to turn green at the sight of someone else’s flower patch,” she admonishes.

So, this year, hoping to stem the scolding from the bossy lady, I gave myself a head start. Winter being a mild one – which meant a happy reprieve from sudden April frosts which nullify any premature gardening efforts – I started early this year. I began making rounds of the local nurseries as soon as March rolled in; and I was weeding, pruning and planting by the middle of the month.

As my new plants settled in, I began to anticipate the arrival of Miss. Slave Driver with barely contained glee. I was sure I’d one-upped her this year – she’d pat me on my back and applaud my resourcefulness.

You think?

Miss. Spring sashayed into my yard a couple of weeks ago, knotted her eyebrows at the budding annuals and perennials in my flower beds, and refused to utter one word of encouragement, let alone praise.

I would’ve somehow gotten over her lukewarm response towards my earnest – if modest – efforts if only she’d left it at that. No sir! She then stalked into my kitchen, shoved the pantry doors open and muttered, “Oh my! Is this the best you can do? I expected better from you.”

That’s when I threw in my shovel and scrambled after her. I hurriedly mixed a fresh drink of Mango Lassi, hoping to distract her before she took it upon herself to shed light on any more cupboards and closets.

You see, I desperately wanted to keep some of the murkier corners of my house hidden from Miss. Perfect; until inspection next year, at the very least.

One day earlier this month, dozens of bees and Monarch butterflies swarmed the Holly shrub in our yard. They buzzed and flitted about for two days. Then, probably after they've had their fill of the nectar, they disappeared as suddenly as they'd appeared.

Can you detect the bees toiling away among the flowers?

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“Aren’t all beginnings new?” asks one character of another in a book I read recently.

I guess they are and they aren’t, depending on how you look at it. As an absentee blogger for the past few months, this is a beginning of sorts for me. Again. Would this start be considered old, then?

What better season than spring to contemplate beginnings, old and new? Tuesday the 20th of March marked the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere of the Earth: essentially, the first day of spring season.

All around me I see signs of new life: pale green leaves unfurling, bulbs pushing shoots out of rain-soaked earth, birds shedding downy winter coats, the skies newly scrubbed and polished.

Most cultures around the world celebrate the arrival of spring in different ways. Where I come from—the southeastern part of India, where people follow a lunar calendar for observing religious days—spring means a fresh start. We usher in the season with a New Year’s festival called Ugadi (the word translates to “Beginning of a new age/era”).

Hinduism believes that a human life is full only if it experiences the gamut of emotions in the right proportions. On Ugadi, everyone—child and adult alike—begins his/her day by eating a mixture or chutney made of six ingredients:

  • Jaggery, (similar to brown sugar, made from sugar cane) which is sweet, signifies happiness
  • Bitter neem flower petals stand in for sorrow
  • Thinly sliced hot, green peppers remind us of anger
  • Savory salt takes the place of fear
  • Tamarind paste (which is sour) marks revulsion or hatred
  • Tangy pieces of unripe mango emphasize surprises

This chutney—a delicious explosion of bold flavors and textures—essentially is a reminder that life is a fusion of experiences. This tradition encourages everyone to accept what is doled out to him/her in life with equanimity.

Tomorrow, which is when Ugadi is celebrated this year, I intend to begin my day with a few spoonfuls of this chutney.

Do you celebrate the beginning of spring or the end of winter? If yes, please share the details with us!

Read Full Post »

Finally! Spring is here – there are signs of new life everywhere around me. 

 

Having said that, for the sake of honesty, I also have to mention that where I live spring usually lasts for a whole day. 

Yes, you read it right! It happens when you least expect it, and then it’s gone. Hot, scorching dog days of summer take over. But die-hard spring fans like me hang on to the euphoria left behind by that one glorious day. 

This is what Spring means to me: 

  • Oxygen, oxygen everywhere. The minute I step out of the house, I have this constant urge to expand my lungs and fill them with as much of the fresh air as possible.

  

  • Longer drives via circuitous routes (the usually impatient, task-oriented me goes into a brief hibernation) to wherever I’m headed, just so I can enjoy more of the unfurling buds and leaves.

  

  • A compulsion to clean out the whole house – thankfully, it never lasts for too long.

  

  • Ideas exploding in my head, pulling me in a dozen different directions at once making me truly addle-headed.

  

  • Watching the bulbs in my garden begin to sprout soft, green shoots that prod out of the earth at an amazing speed.

  

  • An attack by the melancholy thought of “So much to do, so little time!”. I know that it is very much against the concept of a new beginning, but somehow spring always has this effect on me.

  

  • Sitting outside at night and counting stars. At least, I try to count them; guess I will have to move to the countryside first to be able to do it effectively. The only stars I see now (being in the middle of a big city) are those that blink constantly and keep moving to the west of my house. See, one of the busiest airports in the world is about twenty miles, as the crow flies, west of my house.

  

  • The romantic in me getting even more vicious – can’t hear a beautiful song without sniffling and tearing up. Most embarrassing when in public, I tell you!

  

One enterprising bunny deemed our yard safe and had her litter smack-dab in the middle of our vegetable patch one spring

 

  • Baby bunnies scampering in my yard, making me groan. They are cute, I’m not saying they aren’t. But my neighborhood is infested (yes, seriously) with them. One evening you lovingly water the plants in your garden, hoping to see them bloom the next day. You wake up the next morning and go out to the garden in a rush of anticipation — what do you see? A patch of pathetic-looking denuded stalks and a pair of long ears disappearing around the bend. Argh!

  

  • Pollen everywhere, unfortunately. Makes my eyes itch and my nose twitch just at the thought of all those microspores floating in the air.

  

What does spring mean to you?

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