Friday, December 24, 2010

November: my favourite month

Hi everybody, congratulations and very best wishes! Tomorrow is Xmas, the gala day for the whole world. December is already on its way out. We will very soon welcome the New Year-2011- hoping and wishing that it would be luckier for the world community.

It is getting colder everyday. We have already armed ourselves with our thicker woolens and had to exert a lot rummaging through the recesses of cupboards and through piles in the big boxes meant for storage to find them. (I always forget where I have stored what.)

The following short article I penned down last month, articulating my feelings and observations about November.

November has gone by and December is slowly meandering into our lives with memories of hazy mornings and the dreaded smog which sometimes does not clear till mid day and throws life out of gear. November to my mind is the most gratifying and a very special month. It is comfy warm and not hot, it is cool but not cold. The sky stays clear blue, minus pollutants. The slight nip in the air makes the morning walk a treat. For a retiree like me (with due respect to the early morning walkers) going for a walk early in the morning is no compulsion either. Rather I prefer to venture out around eight, when the soothingly mild sun appears to be extending a gratuitous invitation to join him in his exploratory spree. The tête-à-tête with the sun continues during the brisk walk followed by a set of stretching exercises in the neighborhood park- an antidote for minor aches and pains- which bucks one up for the day. Both the mind and the body feel fresh and invigorated in the company of the objects of nature around.

However the icing on the cake is the sight of children of nearby villages, enjoying the November air, attired in their school uniforms marching happily to their respective schools. This human landscape indicates a fast improving literacy ratio and a hope of a better future for these children.

Festivals and special days abound in November. Diwali, India’s most colourful festival falls in this month followed by Bhai Dooj, Vishkarma day and Guru Nanak Dev ji’s birthday. It is auspicious for weddings too and spreads cheer and goodwill continuously.

The Western countries have Thanksgiving Day and November 11 is celebrated as Armistice-a day to remember those who died in World War-1. November 14 is world‘s Diabetes day and Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birthday. I am certain many more culturally specific events are associated with this month the world over.

November is an epicurean’s delight, as it has an enviable position in the cuisine front as well. There is surfeit of winter vegetables and fruits. For the initiated, it provides a great opportunity to cook and serve gourmet dishes and soups. Who can ignore the mouth watering, steaming hot paranthas’ stuffed with finely minced fenugreek leaves, grated cauliflower or radishes with dollops of butter and a bowl of perfectly set home made curd. And then sumptuous dinners signed off with finger licking carrot halwa garnished with generous handfuls of dry fruits. Seasonal specialties like sag and makki di roti- the hot favourites- are relished by children and adults alike.

November is kind to plants and other vegetation also. The trees in our colony are intact with their green power yet. My chrysanthemums are holding their heads high with lustrous flowers in red, yellow and white adorning their tops. Rose bushes in the park laden with fragrant blooms are a visual pleasure. My most prized herbal plant Tulsi stands strong, but I am devising a plan to save it from fast the approaching cold months. I always need its leaves to enrich my morning cuppa of tea, to which I have gotten used to over the years.

All said and done, I thank you November for your numerous benedictions and bounties. May your tribe increase!!!