Mid-Aswin means this part of the world is well set in the cyclic order of Hemanta-the fourth season on Bangla calendar. There exists a love-hate relationship between the Bangalees and this season. In rural lore, one of these months -Kartic-comprising the season is called mora mas meaning dead or barren month. It was also the time when cholera and malaria stalked vast expanses of Bengal until late 1960's. That was the time when villagers did not have access to tube-wells.
On the positive side, though, the greatest Bangalee Hindu festival Durga Puja is celebrated during this time. The Autumn might have taken its leave but some of its influences still remained there. Slowly but surely haze and gloom took over the clear sunshine and the marvellous white patches of clouds that glided past across the clear blue sky.
Today global warming has been acting capriciously to disrupt the seasonal order. Rains, cyclones, storms, floods and rise in temperature have become so unpredictable that seasonal chain is getting distorted more often than not. Hemanta used to herald a pal of mists that hung like a whitish gloom in the distant horizon. During the dusk, the haze then came closer to envelop the surrounding.
By this time the season ignored by most Bangalee poets and writers but more than made up for their neglect by Jibanananda Das should have taken over. But nowhere was its presence at all pronounced-except perhaps in the country's far north - least of all in this city until last Thursday. After a spell of light shower (or was it two or more spells?) at dusk the gloom was there. The majority of city people may have missed the true appearance of Hemanta then. But the early riser and those used to walking among them are not likely to miss the white screen-like mist that remained hung before the sunrise.
Jibanananda has immortalised Hemanta season in his poems. Cool grass, cool walkway and cool meadow of Hemanta have appeared one after another in the poems of Ruposhi Bangla-famed poet. Indeed, his preoccupation with this season was so unfailingly frank that he may be called the poet of Hemanta. Now what is the mystery behind the six seasons people in this part of the world have had? In the western hemisphere they have four seasons. The Rainy Season and Hemanta are the two seasons missing from their calendar and life.
Is there any significance in the two additional seasons people here have chalked out to mark a year? Sure enough, man is a product of his environment. Without the Rainy Season, Bangladesh or West Bengal is incomplete. In recent years Hemanta has lost much of its efflorescence and lustre -albeit sombre and gloomy. This year, temperature like that of the Summer has prevailed until the last Thursday. Even after that extraordinary misty morning, rising temperature has not allowed the city's inhabitants any relief. If the trend continues, this land may lose one of its seasons in the shape of Hemanta.
What then prompt a particular people or peoples to dedicate a time span to a season? It is essentially the discovery of people themselves in different conditions, climes and changes in Nature. Unless human minds rise up to a higher level to appreciate the subtle nuances and changes in the surrounding where elements combine to bring about transformation, it is impossible to go for marking the seasonal variations. Of all the seasons, the subtlest changes take place between Sarat (Autumn) and Hemanta. The distinction is fast getting blurred. If this disappears altogether on account of global warming, the Bangalees in particular will be a great loser. This may prompt a follower of Jibanananda to compose an elegy on Hemanta -the poet's most favourite season.
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