Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Is My December

I realize I have been writing a lot of depressed stuff. Well, my writing does reflect my overall mood. Not that I'm some morbidly depressed wight that mopes around all the time, but let's just say there has been a lot on my mind... for a long time. But there are better things to write about.

There's a beautiful song by Linkin Park, one of my favorite bands, by the name of "My December", which can be heard here. I heard it for the first time during the monsoon of 2004, Until then, Linkin Park to me had meant angst driven, violently melancholy, poetically destructive, scream-out-your-lungs music. This song, by contrast, was slow, reflective, and filled with a lovely remorse. It reminded me of something, of Decembers long past, and how the current weather reflected that. Allow me to elaborate.

First of all, the song is about mistakes that a man has made, and perhaps people that he has lost as a result of those mistakes. He wishes there was someone at home for him to come back to, but he has pushed them away, and he feels like there was something, somewhere he missed, and wishes to hell he didn't feel that way. So this is "his December". It doesn't even literally have to be the actual month, it could just be a metaphor for the end of things, as December is the end of the year. It is lonely, cold, and barren.

Now the words did not have much particular meaning to me at the time. The first time I put the song on, the very first thing that hit me was that sweet piano melody... inexpliciably reminiscent of winter. I was reminded immediately of elementary school, where one day in the deep of winter, a rare occurence took place. It started to snow. We were young and innocent, decked in thick sweaters and jackets, and were allowed outside to play. I remember stretching my hands up to the dull sky, my breath visible in the air, sheer joy in every breath. Catching snowflakes, and watching them melt immediately in my hand... And that sky. One particular characterisitc of winter in that region are the steel grey clouds. Endless and unbroken, that beautiful grey sky stretches from horizon to horizon all day.

It was a time of great innocence. There was a mean bite in the air, one that defeated the most sincere attempts to keep it out (in the form of quaint jackets and caps) by attacking the vulnerable and exposed ears and noses, rendering them quite numb. It was heaven to enter shelter from the bitter cold and feel the warmth return to those facial extremities. It was the Christmas season, and it was a season there that was celebrated with much fervor and excitement. And yes, I loved the commercialization of Christmas. Its not the holiday season unless every store and house has their decorations up, until the Coca Cola commercials come on TV, until the Christmas specials start to play. Evergreen trees dropped their needles, the deciduous trees had long since shed their browned leaves, except for the stubborn few that hung on, as if they were likely to see next spring. The smell of pinecones filled the air. It was a time that meant to me Christmas cookies, sweet and mundane with stupid frosting on it. It meant cake and candy, even those damn peppermint candy canes that are nice to look at, but a pain to eat (particularly for someone who is not particularly fond of peppermint). It was a time of songs and carols and the story of Christmas. Anticipation. Endless love and joy. Holly and wreaths and mistletoe. Greeting cards. Hot cocoa. That sweet, simple charm of the suburban holiday season. Winter and December brought with it these feelings that I adored so much, and this song reminded me of them.

Ironic then, that it was in the month of June that I first heard this song. And ironic that I felt like it truly was December. "My December" soon became the most played song ever on my Winamp. The play count definitely crossed 133 at one point (and that too in a short time). December in the subcontinent is quite different, particularly in Goa. Though it gets relatively cold, you don't get endless grey skies. However, in June you do. The monsoon was in full splendor. The sky was an endless grey sheet, ravaged and torn, and extremely lovely.

And then this song comes on, and I am transported to a time and world far away. I listened to the song so much, I almost felt like it was December. It was that sky... and of course, the fact that it gets cold during the monsoons helped too. Not to mention 2004 was a great year... I was not as young, but probably just as innocent then. It was a time when there was much hope and love. Not for any reason, but there just was. Those grey skies stretched from horizon to horizon. I soaked up the thick, cold drops as I went out to meet friends (going to school was just a formality). The beach was a frequent destination... those sandy shores in all their monsoon grandeur. To me it meant friends. Physics practicals. Hitman 2. The Bourne Identity.

Vegetation burst forth. Life was renewed. An infinite draught of fresh water from the seas was fed to the thirsty Earth, and she bloomed with variegated flora. Green was the order of things. All wild. And I stood there, at my window in my home, comforted, in nostalgia of the past and in the joy of the present, not caring for the future. Blissful. Unconditional happiness. For no reason.

So its a funny thing about this song... it actually reminds me of two places and two seasons. First of all it reminded me of December so far away, because the season complemented and reflected that old season in many ways. And later, I was reminded of the monsoon in Goa, when evenings become deep blue. A time of innocence, a time of joy. And most importantly, home.

Now, of course, I have left the notion of "home" behind. I'm not being cynical, I'm being pragmatic :). So I am not reminded of home so much, but I am reminded of the feeling. I can still sense a vestige of an emotion, of something great and comforting that I once knew, in two times and two locations, and all brought together by one song. I will remember trying in vain to catch snowflakes on my tongue in that lovely freak snowfall, I will remember fogging up my breath on a cold, rainwashed window while the world outside was grey and green. And now that is mine to have forever, me and this silly little song.

Nice, eh?

It is December now, and I must say I'm warming up to it (get it)? I really am getting into the spirit of it. It has suddenly got cold (and it can get really cold in Pune), and I am loving it. I am in the Christmas spirit, and doing everything I can to enjoy the holiday season in that heady spirit. If no one else cares, I still shall be the messenger of Christmas. Ha.

This is a few mornings ago. Awesome fog. Thick as hell. Now that's winter stuff.

I really am warming up to this December.


  1. (Note: All but the last pic are off the net. So I have left the copyrights on them if there were any. So if anyone has a problem with that, I will pull my shorts down, bend over, and you can firmly plant your lips on the cheek of your choice)

  2. Unmesh, I was feeling all warm and cosy after reading that lovely post and then I read the comment and burst out laughing. That comment is very funny. It's the only funny thing about this post.
    But, but, but - I love this post the mostest. Such lovely flow of words

  3. thanks cyniqueen, i always appreciate your praise. these posts, although far from being literary gold (or even silver), but they are fuelled by pure emotion, so i think they come off ok. i think i can express myself pretty good. but you reassure me. thanks. :)
    ill be adding more humor. less macabre. less depression. more rants. more stuff like this.