Warm crimson and blood-red leaves falling from the chinar trees and the grey hue of the autumn daylight are playing with the moods of people in the Valley, inspiring both romance and gloominess, according to psychiatrists here.
The psychiatric unit at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital here has witnessed a sudden spurt in depression cases, with experts tracing its roots in the changing season.
"Seasons affect a specific section of the brain, inducing mood disorders. The dim daylight and its grey shades are reflected in human behaviour, inducing depression and laziness," said Dr Arshad Hussain, a psychiatrist working at the SMHS.
Dr Hussain is studying the effects of seasons on human psychology, in the Valley. The study aims to find out if seasons, particularly autumn and winter, affect the production of Vitamin D, thereby affecting the human mind.
Preliminary assumption of the study is that Vitamin D level decreases in winter, inducing depression.
Kashmir has four distinct seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn, and each season colours the landscape with its own unique colours and different shades of daylight.
Giving love a boost
These days, the Valley's majestic chinar trees, which are hundreds of years old, are a major attraction, especially in Srinagar, where for couples of all ages can be seen walking on the fallen leaves.
Dr Hussain says the colours of chinar leaves, which turn from blood-red to crimson, and then to yellow, as autumn passes by, do affect lovers in the Valley. "These colours play on the minds of people and motivate them to pursue pleasurable activities like romance," he adds.
Autumn in rural Kashmir, unlike urban pockets where it induces mood changes, is mostly associated with happiness because it marks the end of the harvest season, which has left people 'richer' in monetary terms.
Besides, autumn colours are enjoyed more by the rural population, compared to those in the urban pockets, Dr Hussain claimed.
"Marriages and courtship are common in rural Kashmir in this season, as it elevates the mood of the people in those areas," he added.
One can gauge the impact of falling leaves and changing colours from posts on social networking websites, where hundreds of netizens have posted that 'postcard-perfect' photograph of falling chinar leaves.
"I feel like writing only romantic poetry these days. The changing colours of chinar leaves reflect the mood of a beloved," said Fida Jan, a student and a poet.