I loved drawing big leaves all over my school art-book. I would then colour them in green, orange, red and yellow.
“The reds and yellows and oranges are for autumn,” I’d tell mom knowledgeably, “You know the leaves turn into those colours before they all turn white in winter!”
It is another story that I never really saw these colours in the trees outside my house in Delhi. They’d sometimes get a muddy yellow at best. This is why, when R and I ventured out for a walk by the Danube the other day, I was in for a glorious surprise.
All the trees around us have metamorphosed into autumnal delights. Their leaves have been painted, presumably by the heavens, into striking colours that look very like the crayon drawings in my old art-book. There are huge scoopfuls of leaves strewn all over the roads, almost like a leafy carpet. It is the proverbial autumn. And if it wasn’t for my jackets and headgear that kind of restrict movement, I would have jumped into the piles of leaves like I have seen some dogs do.
How is it possible that very soon these colours will disappear? What will be left behind is a sheet of white, thickening everyday as the snow falls harder, and all traces of the vibrant colours of autumn forgotten until the year comes a full circle. It makes me feel transient, vulnerable. The sun sets over the Danube even as I extend my hands to capture some warmth. Little kids run past me in their winter wear; elderly couples hold on to each other’s hands tightly. When they all wake up the next morning, it is likely that most of these beautiful leaves will be strewn on the roads, the colours rapidly disappearing. Everything about our world can be – and most likely, will be – altered by time. All we can do is cherish the happiness of the moment.
So, this is what I have decided to do. Leaving you with two more pictures of the Viennese autumn that I find incredibly beautiful in a searing, melancholic sort of way. Enjoy the dash of colour while it lasts!