Vasanta looked at the facebook wall, her husband smiling with a group of his school, college friends, how it had hurt he had chosen to be with them rather than her on their anniversary, her mother-in-law had sneered at her, “enjoy your anniversary alone” that had hurt her more.
When he return there was no as much as greeting, apology, gift whatever, Vasanta, knew it was time to take a call, with to live in hibernation with a dead relationship or to move on in life.
viharati Harir iha sarasa-vasante
nṛtyati yuvati-janena samaṃ, sakhi,
When winsome westerly winds
caress comely creeping cloves
As bumblebees’ buzz-buzzing and cuckoos’ coo-cooing
Resound in huts, in coves, in groves,
In springtime, the sensual season so languorously
Long for forlorn lovers,
Krishna strays and plays, my friend,
Dancing with young girls.
Verse 1, Song Three, Gita Govinda of Jayadeva – translated by Lee Siegel
Vasanta is the undisputed king of the seasons. In league with Kama, who roams triumphant bringing all under his sway with his unfailing arrows, Vasanta causes almost every flower and tree to put forth magnificent blooms. It is – says Rama as Vasanta arrives at Lake Pampa amidst a rain of blossom – as if the trees are vying with each other. This is the season of the cuckoo and the bee, the mango and the aśoka. Painted with a fiery palate of the reds, golds, oranges and yellows of its flowers, Vasanta kindles the flame of passion and burns the hearts of those separated from their lovers. Clichéd though this metaphor has become in the hands of many poets, there are some verses that give it fresh life:
The dancer was dancing, the movements were graceful. Yes, Vasanta thought, just like her name, Vasanta the spring, new beginnings, a time when nature wakes up from the hibernation of winter when flowers bloom in their glory. The Indian Diasporas in USA celebrated the vasantotsava; they called it the Hindu Valentine’s day. After the so called classical performances, came the medley of Bollywood songs.
She remembered the excitement, the Month of Magha, the fifth day was the Panchami, and the house would come alive. There would be preparations for the Vasanta Panchami, then the shashti, the Ratasaptami and finally the durgashatmi.
Spring was dedicated to Saraswati…
“Madam, look at this point, there is something that does not match with findings.”
“What do you mean, Karan?” Vasanta asked her assistant they were researching the river Saraswati the season of spring was dedicated to.
“Madam, the ghost river bed, in synchrony with the age and flow we have mapped. The fossil finds are in tune with the age of the river bed, but suddenly from this point, the river bed shows an altered pattern, there is evidence of the river drying up or rather fading away and at the sub terrain level there is lateral movement of the river towards the east.”
“Any archaeological findings’
‘Madam, the dating is same as that of the Dwaraka excavation dates, but the structures do not match any of the Saraswati valley findings, these look like extracts stored from various regions. For examples, this pottery is definitely east coast, Anga pradesha, while the contents of this vault and look like the fish remnants from the Arabian Sea.’
Now that was really interesting, somehow all these seem to fit into Vasanta’s findings that that the river Saraswati had vanished due to development that lacked sustainability, the resultant disaster either deliberately of inadvertently diverted the river eastwards.
“Ambi tame, devi tame nadi tame Saraswati,” muttered Vasanta,
“Ma’m isn’t it strange that the festival of spring is associated with a sterile goddess like Saraswati?”
Vasanta smiled, “Karan how long have we been researching Saraswati,”
“Ma’m since my MPhil, I have been working”
“so what has come up for you?”
“Ma’m, she is the goddess of learning, pure, white, sitting on a swan,”
“Is that it Karan? And an MPhil for it,”
“Ma’m I focused on the life and trade possibility”
“Look at it, Karan, a civilization whose fields nourished by a mighty river, the fish from it that they ate, the water that quenched their thirst, the water on which their ships travelled for trader, the waters which brought other traders to them. The river that sustained life and living, she was all giving, so Saraswati… the giver of life flavour.”
“Yet Ma’m I mean she is the goddess of learning, so spring, that is associated with romance, and superficiality even holi madam we perform Kama dahan. This logic of Vasant Panchami eludes me.”
“Ma’m can I go a little early today?”
“the Amir Khusro study group is having the Basant Bahar, the festival of sufi songs that use the word Basant. Ma’m the Sufi’s brought the Basant festival into the Muslim community, it is great fun Madam, first we have these songs, and then there is socializing.”
As her scholars left, her eyes reverted to the picture on facebook, she wondered what his glamorous lady friend would have done if her husband dared to be away on her birthday or anniversary. But then it was not about the lady friend, neither was it about her husband it was about her life.
Did she want the cold, winter or was she willing to move on the vibrant spring exuded energy. A state of being that could give. Did she have the courage to move on in life. all her excuse had now run out, her daughters were not more dependent on her. As Vasanta scrolled the facebook wall down, there was a beautiful clipping of a butterfly emerging out of its cocoon.
Vasanta stared at it fascinated, the struggle, the rupture of the safe shell, the wings unfolding, and new life fluttering into the horizon, yes, it was time, to spread the wings and experience the exhalation feeling of flying high, the winds would hold her up, she would morph into the next stage…. the spring had truly arrived.