The sky was a burst of colour as a whole line of birds took flight across its face in celebration of sunrise. Summer has come in with a bang with April gusts. The trees have been laid bare, the streets and the lawns are a carpet of leaves on which footfalls, vehicles, everything moveable crunch past. The delicious colours of leaves in red and brown and yellow hang on gates, boundary walls, car tops in superb décor. Summer comes with the hibiscus , the marigold and sunflower, the neem and the mango in blossom before tender green shoots and fruit show up. The gardens with the mango and the lemon are the target of every young heart and bring home the days I spent looking for the fruit among the leaves.
The fiery avenues of Gulmohur and silk cotton and the violet of Kala jamun turned the highways into rainbows and we went kicking through the leaves to school, a pleasurable exercise in itself. I could think of nothing happier than sitting under the shade of a big tree lost in the pages of a thriller or a romance. As the seasons changed colour our spirits did too. I felt that life had nothing better to offer, no greater contentment than just to be. The Gen-X or Y with their raging hormones have no time for such frivolities. The I-pad and the I-pod have grabbed their attention. In fact, their lives are hooked on to the gadgets and gizmos. The breakneck pace at which they are living, the severe competition they are experiencing right from school to placements was unimaginable in older times. Life was a far slower process. Of course, nothing comes without a price or a privilege. Today we have the big bucks, more comfortable lifestyles, luxury goods, innumerable channels of entertainment and communication. Borders have melted, the world has opened shop in our backyards, we are experiencing the great Retail Renaissance, and consumerism is growing by leaps and bounds. With this stress levels have increased, depression sets in when you can’t keep up with the neighbours, the old values have taken a beating and there is no time for the simple pleasures of life.
Whereas one took extreme delight in going for a walk or looking up friends for a lively chat we have any number of youngsters reading a book in a café with earplugs on, rushing to the gym for a quick walk on the treadmill and catching up on all the gossip on the ubiquitous mobile. Meanwhile seasons slip past like slides, the trees become green, brown and bare by turns and there is none to watch them. Those of us who did still do and the joy experienced can never be communicated to those who have no time or inclination. Of course, every year the seasons are always the same, the colours of red yellow , and green are forever there, the summer winds, the bird song. So what’s new? It was George Eliot who said, “What is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?”