Sunday, December 2, 2012

LITERATURE, WINTER & DECEMBER

MAHTAB BASHIR
Islamabad
0333 53 63 248

The month of December is usually referred in literature a phase with feelings of sadness and forlorn attitude, perhaps owing to the combination of autumn and winter- as both are intrinsic part of this month. The pleasant season of autumn - an interval between summer and winter - is welcoming the fall hues in the air of the federal capital, displaying the vibrancy of eye-catching burnt colours through glimpses of nature.

Nostalgia grips every individual during the course of the seasonal transformation. There is no other month of the year except December that is used extensively by poets, singers, intellectuals and men of letters to describe their melancholic feelings of the past when withering crimson and yellow leaves fall on the ground. According to Katherine S White, “From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens - the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye.”

A Scottish dramatist JM Barrie said, “God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.” ‘Bhega Bhega sa ye December hay’ by Abrar-ul-Haq, ‘December ka maheena tha, suhani sham mangal ki’ by Aamir Salim and a number of other songs are composed on this month highlighting the sad moments, while Urdu and English literature has given it sufficient space because of strange sadness around them.
William Shakespeare said, “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.” The season typically begins with the advent of December and brings pleasant change in the weather before winter. Plants start changing their colours and introduce a variety of eye-catching shades which also give unusual feelings to the mood.

According to psychiatrists and physicians, this phase is called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)’, which is a pattern of major depressive episodes that occur and remit with changes in seasons. “It may be seen in major depressive or bipolar disorders, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The most recognised form of seasonal affective disorder, “winter depression,” is characterised by recurrent episodes of depression, hypersomnia, augmented appetite with carbohydrate craving, and weight gain that begin in the autumn and continue through the winter months,” said a physician at PIMS hospital.

Doctors have many options for treating SAD. While questions regarding its validity as a syndrome and the mechanism of action of light therapy continue to be investigated, the established effectiveness of light therapy in patients with winter depression supports the usefulness of assessment for the seasonal pattern and consideration of light therapy as an option in addition to existing treatment choices.

He said depressive episodes were a primary public health problem and one of the most common psychiatric conditions in patients seeing family physicians, with a lifetime prevalence of 17.1 percent in the general population. “Some of these mood disturbances follow regular seasonal patterns.” “The season is also considered as an enchanting attraction for artists, poets and nature lovers to discover and explore the beauty of nature,” said an art student who takes fall season as his inspiration to paint nature. The most attractive thing in this season is the phenomenon when plants change their colours - black tone of greens and browns while reddish touch in rust, ochre and yellows depict the awesome charm.

“People don’ t think much about leaves until autumn whispers in the air revealing the multitude of colours that emerge from what was previously a plain green background,” said Khadija, another student of Fine Arts at a local university. Fall in the air offers crispness to the morning air and sharper shadows as the angle of the sun starts to change and days become shorter. “Walking on dry leaves with crispy sounds provides an amazing feeling which is considered as the best feature of the season by autumn lovers,” she added. “It refreshes the mood while looking at some lively colours that nature offers for a limited period,” she remarked. Every fall displays its gems, majestic ruby, amber and gold leaves that blend to create a vibrant display of hues; say horticulture experts.

According to these experts, plant leaves begin to die in autumn, the green photosynthetic pigment and chlorophyll decay rapidly while other photosynthetic pigments, yellow carotenoids decay slowly and still some pigments and red anthocyanins are produced as the by-products of the leaves.

In this season, green colour fades to reveal the underlying yellows, reds and browns while the exact vibrancy that develops is influenced by plants genetics and the environment. Another feature is the Christmas celebrated by the Christian community on the 25th of this month. The natural beauty of Margalla Hills, Daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohawa, and Lakeview Park and the avenues of federal capital attract a lot of sightseers as a special enchantment for local and foreign nature lovers. “If cold December gave you birth, The month of snow and ice and mirth, Place on your hand a Turquoise blue, Success will bless whate’er you do.” HAPPY DECEMBER!

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