Today, I am going to tell you a story. Tora’r tolot sutalot bohi, Aaita’e kua bohu xadhur maajorei eti xadhu. (One of the many stories that my Grandma had told me, sitting in the courtyard under the star lit sky)
Many many springs ago, a fierce, young and beautiful maiden was married off to a far away land. The land was so far that she could visit home only once a year. She loved her mother and father so much, that she promised to visit them every year without fail. She chose the onset of spring to prepare for her arrival to see her beloved parents annually. Spring, also known as Bohag in Assam, marks the start of a new year in our culture. Bohag is when orchids bloom in every courtyard, when cuckoo sings sitting on every branch. Bohag is when people are full of festive spirit. They wear new clothes, share love with their near and dear ones. People sing, dance, and prepare various delicacies to mark celebration. This festival during Spring is called Rongali/Bohag Bihu.
Every year, on the onset of Bohag, during the time of Rongali Bihu, our pretty girl visits her maiden home, no matter what. Like every mother, we long for her yearly visit. Like every mother, we prepare for her visit, with much love and open arms. We rejoice, make merry and welcome her happily. For we know, she is here to soothe away the pain of long separation from home/loved ones. To erase away all the sorrows from the past. To show us the path for a happier new year, a new hope and a new start. She shows, no matter how far we go from home, our roots will always be there ; secure, safe and love filled.
We call her Bordoisila. In Assamese language, Bor means big, Doi means cloud or water. Sila means girl. Hence, a girl amidst big clouds/water or a girl who brings big clouds/rain, every single spring. And true to her name, she comes as heavy wind, rainfall, big bolt of lightening and dark big clouds. She comes fiercely, swiftly but surely. And she washes away all our sufferings, cleans our soul with love, blesses our land for a fruitful harvest and prepares us for a new start.
As a kid, I used to sing this song with Deuta (father) to welcome or to acknowledge the coming of Bordoisila,
“Nalbirinar paah, Brahmaputrat halise jalise…
Boga koi bogoli, nil aakaxot urise.
Aahise bohagi…..tai maakor ghoroloi,
(The last line means…Spring is visiting her maiden home as Bordoisila)
When she comes it looks lovely. (Like captured in this picture)
As I sit here in Delhi, with a scorching 44 degree summer sun, I wonder if Bordoisila would come to this part of India too….to soothe our soul, to wash way this feeling of home-sickness.