When we were in kinder garden we knew only three seasons; Summer, Winter and Rainy (incidentally we also had breaks for only these, so they were easy to remember!) Increase in our grades increased the number of seasons too; they then became- Summer, Winter, Rainy, Autumn and Spring. And today that concept has yet again changed for me.
Working in public health sphere in Bihar for the past 4 years, I have understood one thing; there are many other seasons to take into account if you wish to understand things in a concrete manner. As you interact with staff in Labour room in the Primary Health Centres, they would tell you all about it. ‘Abhi to khali hai madam bed, par jab season hota hai na toh ek bed pe do do log hote hain’, said one ANM to me during one of the field visit (Right now the bed is empty but when the season comes, there are two people on one bed). A season when the deliveries increase in number and there are not enough beds for them and they are sent back home after the ‘check’ is issued to them. This was all about delivery clients! I wonder how couples plan to have children all in the same season- Is the season that romantic or maybe conception of a child has nothing to do with romance; I am yet to find out!
Next famous season in public health is the season of family planning. All round the year, numbers would be sagging, unable to reach the targets (Yes, target approach still exists at least at the lowest of levels) but when the season comes; it is like a rush to cut the tubes! This is the season for female sterilization or family planning season per say. A popular belief is that a wound heals in winter easily whereas exactly opposite of it is true as per medical knowledge. Also, I do wonder, why doesn’t season for male sterilization ever come in India? After all male sterilization is an easier and more rewarding option for couples who receive Rs 600 for female sterilization and Rs 1000 for male sterilization! But masculinity come into play here- after all males are so precious in India that families keep on having children (girl children) till they have a count of two male children- one for buffer in case other doesn’t survive! How can they every think of male sterilization then?
Another season which makes males in Indian society very valuable is ‘The marriage season’. They actually get pretty expensive in Bihar in this season! I wonder whether boys are made to study and get a job principally for this season where price tags are put on them. The auctions are put up according to their caste, education and job with bidding starting from 15 lacs one, 15 lacs two, 15 lacs three- Sold!
Then there is the festival season here, particularly in the months of October and November where every second day is some festival and it’s a reason for Government offices to shut down. ‘Diwali aur chatt ke baad hi sahib kuch kaam ho payega, abhi to sab chute main hai’, laments the clerk in Government office. (Any work will only happen after Diwali and Chatt festival, right now everyone is on leave). Non-residents of Bihar make sure to gather during Chatt to observe the two-day fast (mostly by women) thanking the Sun god for all the life on Earth. And the one who gives birth on this Earth is made to fast for it; weird isn’t it?
A popular season which quickly turns into an epidemic is ‘cricket season’ which just concluded with IPL matches! The symptoms of this fever include buying huge number of chips packets and soft drinks (Pepsi and Coke being favorites) and constant sitting in front of the TV with littering around. Beware! This season can make your boyfriend trick you into watching a match in Dominos; who otherwise likes ‘Indian’ food only!
But there is a universal season which has no time or place. It brings all the other seasons to a halt, paralyses the system in all manners possible and hurts you till the core- the season of Politics. With the conclusion of Lok Sabha elections, and change in power, it is important to see what fauna and flora this season would bring till the season returns with a bang!