Man has been given a limited number of years which are also melting away like snow with the passing of each day
“O Wind! If winter comes, can summer be far behind?” This line is from a poem which means that we should not lose hope in the face of adversity. In fact, we need to be optimistic as after every winter there comes the summer and one never knows what tomorrow will bring.
Winter is a period in which a blanket of snow is spread over the surface of earth and yet it is a dark and bleak part of the year. In spring, the snow melts and the land with fresh vegetation and greenery becomes scenic again. A pleasant and joyous mood is witnessed when spring comes. The cycle of the seasons from winter to summer and back to winter continues and so does life.
Rumi (RA), the great poet philosopher, said, “Be melting snow and wash yourself of yourself.” We pray for our departed souls that they be given a bath with ice-cold water, which is a blessing and a great relief in scorching heat. There are many other examples of spiritual significance of ice.
The charm and beauty of snow cannot be described in words unless it is seen with naked eyes. The first fall of snow is indeed a magical event. When we wake up in the morning, we find a different world than the previous night and are thrilled to see snow everywhere. This is indeed a special occasion for all and people felicitate each other with “Nav Sheen Mubrak”. We experience enchantment and it is a delightful moment for all: old, young, and children.
Watching the fall of snowflakes from the sky is a sweet experience and the snow is a gift from Allah sent to us from the heavens, a manifestation of His absolute power of doing so.
Snow in winter throws many challenges for us. It brings merriment and misery simultaneously. It adversely affects the daily routine of locals, especially in hilly areas. Even people in cities suffer in a variety of ways. The road traffic is hampered, highways are closed, and even flights are delayed. Wildlife in the higher reaches cannot find food and many starve or die under heavy snow, avalanches and broken glaciers.
People adjust their lifestyle in such a way that it thwarts the harshness of winter. Their requirement of food, clothing, shelter, etc, are all tailored to meet the needs and exigencies of living with 8 to 10 feet of snow in lower areas and more in hills and higher reaches. Time and resources of an average person are spent mostly on preparations round the year to face the daunting challenges of the harsh winter.
Kangri, pheran, skull cap and other woollen items are used to protect oneself from the impact of the biting cold in subzero temperatures. Non-perishable articles of food and dried vegetables, known as hukh suen, are stored in sufficient quantities. Handicrafts and other indoor professions are taken up to earn a living.
The situation has improved of late as it does not snow much nowadays as compared to the past, due to global climate change. Frozen icesticks called “shisher ghaant” of different sizes and shapes used to hang from roofs and balconies of houses; it looked beautiful.
The harshest period of winter is known as Chillai Kalaan, which comes with bone-chilling cold. This is the time when water bodies like lakes and rivers are partially frozen. The main delicacy which is in great demand in this period is Harrisa, a non-vegetarian cuisine, besides many other winter special dishes.
Snow manifests itself in many shapes, “kath kush” being one of them. It is a scenario in which we find snowy winds blowing and crisscrossing furiously from all sides scattering snow, not sparing even trees, vegetation and freezing water in pitchers kept in confines of inner rooms.
A time comes when snow starts to melt. It stays on longer in the shadows than in the open fields. This phase heralds the coming of spring. It is regarded as a time of rebirth for the vegetation. Beneath the melting snow, vegetation of all kinds including the famous tulip flower is seen sprouting. It carries the scent of spring and a feeling that life still exists. Streams of melting snow run to the brim. With melting snow, the whiteness of the earth also vanishes and it regains its own colour. The snow melts and vanishes before our eyes and we can do nothing to stop it.
Man has been given a limited number of years of age which are also melting away like snow with the passing of each day. It is not advisable to waste this time in unproductive ways but instead should be used in doing good deeds in the service of humanity. This is the writing on the white snow which all of us should read.
The writer is a retired telecom engineer and author of the book, ‘Footprints in the Sand’. [email protected]