By Ashok Bhargava
VANCOUVER: I think autumn is the best time of the year. It is a season that marks the end of summer and the beginning of chilly weather. The ground is showered with softly falling leaves, dancing in the wind before finally settling on the ground for their long winter nap. City streets become a collage of red, yellow, and orange. A regular walk down the street becomes a colorful adventure with a soundtrack of crunching leaves beneath your feet.
Autumn stimulates our senses. The tastes and smells of fall are warm and comforting as apples and pumpkins epitomize fall in the way they look, taste, and smell. Golden sweet corn and aroma of pumpkin pie and apple cider offer a welcome change from summer barbeque and cold beer.
Thanksgiving is one of the favorite holidays of fall season. I am not very fond of a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, good wine and apple pie. I like my own Thanksgiving dinner of tandoori chicken, malai kofta, rasam soup, dosa and chhole bhature with masala chai. I rather have gulab jamun for dessert than pumpkin pie.
Another holiday of the fall season is Halloween. It reminds me of celebrating Lohri of my childhood days in Punjab. My ears reverberate with “Sunder munder eaye, Tera kaun bechara” when I hear “trick or treat”. I love Halloween candy but I crave for peanuts in sand, gachak and raberdian candy.
Fall is also time for Dussehra and Diwali. I like to carve a jack-o-lantern, run through a corn maze and jump into a pile of freshly raked leaves as well as make effigy of demon king Ravana and cotton wicks for clay diyas for the Diwali pooja. I also love October Fest with beer, sauerkraut and sausages. It is fun to combine traditions of ancient India with the traditions and festivities of Canada.
So let’s pull toques over our ears and celebrate. Fall is finally here, and it is lovely. Don’t be shy to relish turkey or tandoori chicken; pumpkin pie or jalebi, good wine or masala chai and curl up with a cup hot apple cider and some folk music – show the world you’re not afraid to mix different traditions and cultures. Autumn is a beautiful season; just fall in love with Fall.
(Ashok Bhargava, who is based in Burnaby in British Columbia, is president of Writers International Network Canada)