My son often asks me, pointing to two of his toys, whether I like this one or that. His red car or his black car. His cricket ball or his football.  Sometimes he asks if I like Wednesday or Thursday. I would tell him, I don’t know. I don’t particularly like either.
He would raise his eyebrows incredulously: You don’t like them?
Of course I like them, I would reply. I like both.
But which one do you like better?
I do not know how to explain to him that I do not hold any sentiment for this car or that, this ball or that, this day or that (except Fridays of course). I like them if he likes them. So I would choose one, with no reason or emotion or thought attached to it, though as soon as my decision is made public, he begins to analyse my choice. Which is a story for another day.

But if he were to ask me which was the month of the year that I disliked the most, I do not think I would hesitate much before answering.

March is one of those months that was born at the wrong time, and is much despised for no fault of its own. One could almost feel sorry for it. (Just as one could feel sorry for Mondays.)

Since time immemorial, March has been associated with exams (at least in this part of the world). Children dread it even while they look forward to it because it means the end of school term and a long, sprawling summer vacation ahead – filled with games and fun with cousins and splashing in the river and crawling in the mud and slurping on ripe mangoes and munching crisp banana chips.

But wait – all this fun and chips and mangoes and cousins and splashing come in April and May. After March. March is the final hurdle, the big, thick, high, unkind, brick wall that you have to climb over first (there is no escape, no hole to scrape through like the wooden hedges in your village where you would be heading, come April).

After the end of that phase, the exams and school and college behind us forever, the month would continue to make its appearance every year (grinning in a sadistic way) with a test of a different kind. Called Appraisals. Which are nothing compared to the terrors experienced so far in life; which for most of us, most of the time, would signify no up-raising, it would be more like a down-fall. Long gloomy faces, teary eyes, angry words and a few, rare, proud happy giggles (invoking a lot of jealousy around) would be the sights that greet you along the office corridors.

For some, March is also synonymous with the woes of financial year ending. One could almost hear the crescendo – rising to a pitch, the pounding of the drums, the screech of the violins, the boom of the saxophone, (I know I have messed it up, FY ending is indeed a mess) – and then all of a sudden at midnight on the 31st, all fall silent as though someone has died, which it certainly has – at the stroke of midnight, the eventful month (dragging the financial year with it) falls to its grave.

Every year, we know what March means, we prepare ourselves for what it could throw at us, we expect the worst, really, but March would never disappoint. It could always brew a dose of something nasty, something never witnessed before and it would hold it right before our eyes, making us drool, making us hope, making us dream, making us optimistic beyond our wildest imagination, and then – it would toss it at our cheery visages, casually, gently, even lovingly, and perhaps chuckle to itself while it watches us burn under the acid-like attack, scarred for life, shoving us one more inch closer to the beasts we will eventually become.

It has that power to give us hope, the hope that keeps us alive, the hope that kills us when it dies. It has that super power, one would think, to trample over one’s destiny as easily as if it were strolling on the beach.

I, for one, am glad that March is taking its final breaths of air.
Rest, March, for the time being, in Peace.
For you give us no Peace while you’re here.