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The winter of your life

Picture drawn by Vidya Iyer

Winter is watching your parents grow old

Dry leaves fall in clusters and make a haunting whispery sound every time the cold wind blows. In time, memory fails, limbs linger longer than they should on the ground before they feel blood coursing through them again. Like the clusters of leaves that fall and fade away, memories fade too, never to return. Cracks appear on the veneer of the mind, the cobwebs of the past weaving into their grasp the uncertainties of the future. Time is raspy, its passing met with fear disguised as cynicism. You can buy anything you want, anything except time. The clock is a conscience keeper, one that you cannot fool or bribe. 

Winter is comfort

Warmth is measured through touch, not a like button. Friendships get muddled in a haze of likes, comments and tweets. But real friends are those who show up. For a wedding, funeral or just to say hello. As the years pass, memories will come to your rescue. Ecstasy, tragedy, regrets, all get woven into a big ball of  neurons. From time to time, memories get emitted back to you and you long for someone to share them with. Warmth sifts the real from the unreal, the fair weather friends from the ones who showed up. Winter makes you seek the warmth of the ones that stayed through it all.

Winter is hope

In cold comes silence. In silence comes pause. In pause comes contemplation. The breeziness of spring will soon greet you, lifting the heaviness of winter from your shoulders. To separate the wheat from the chaff requires solitude. Sometimes in life, answers can be found in the very questions that we ask. And every winter, just like Truman did in the Truman Show, you can see for yourself what and who is real. Without winter, spring will lose its step and relevance.

Winter's end 

All things must come to pass. The leaves that fall in clusters will be swept away, replenished with a fresh batch of hope. Life too has its seasons. We sometimes wait for the sun when it's raining, pray for spring when we are left out in the cold. But without having storms to weather, life loses its sense of meaning. A life with only season is barren, bereft of flavor, substance and drama. Winter's end is the culmination of a calendar, the turning of a page, the passing of the baton from one season to the next. 

Summer 

Albert Camus said “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Summer is vibrancy. It exhausts you and makes you yearn for the rain to offer some respite. Winter is inertia, summer is movement. Winter heralds an end, summer spells a beginning. Metaphorically, summer summons visions of hope and joy while winter summons bleak images of cold and despair. 

Slowly and steadily, the winter of life will arrive. No amount of exercise or anti-ageing cream will be able to thwart it. 

And when that day arrives, you will realize that the winter of life is defined by the number of people's lives into which it brought summer. 

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