|Early morning fog has engulfed the area|
Winter starts in November on a placid note and we welcome it with wide open arms after the scorching summer months. November ushers just perfect breezy warmth and going for a walk becomes a luxury and unadulterated pleasure. Come December and winter asserts itself and then the whole of January shows its mighty power.
At the moment North India is reeling under bone chilling cold. Winter has its own unique landscape here. Some days it drapes itself in slow soaking rains and pushes us in the confines of the house and we warm ourselves in the folds of quilt and eat winter savories. Some days it keeps us indoors by sulking with grey foggy environs which are depressing to say the least and turns life upside down. Some days it becomes so magnanimous that it wakes us up with a bright sunny spread which ignites a spontaneous remark, “How heavenly to be alive on such a day.” Automatically with a clear azure sky one is filled with optimism, zest and hope. This is the novelty and illogicality of our emotions. With a small change in externals we are elated and very soon with a minor change we feel dejected. Our emotions always surpass the actuality of the moment.
Because of the extremities of weather, we in the north have to have wardrobe of specific fabrics according to the need of changing weather. In winters our cupboards overflow with all the paraphernalia of soft, fluffy woolens, headgear of various shapes and sizes, cardigans, pullovers of varying thickness and in severe chill, jackets, long coats; thermal wear and leggings join the bandwagon. Winter’s arsenal carries the discomforts of colds, coughs, fever and, stiff joints. It being a tough task master, we keep ourselves prepared to withstand its assaults.
However, winter’s rich kingdom offers us special cuisine. Our eating preferences take a u turn. We brush aside the cold beverages and opt for soups, herbal teas, and fresh citrus juices; home made delicacies like carrot dishes and rice pudding garnished generously with dry fruit. Nothing can beat mouth watering winter specialties like paranthas stuffed with grated radish, cauliflower or finely chopped fenugreek leaves to be eaten with a dollop of home made butter or curd. Other favorites which we Punjabis can never say no to in winters namely sag, makki di roti and sweet snacks prepared with sesame (til) seeds and sugar and Bhugga with Khoya (thickened milk) coconuts chunks and sesame seeds and sugar.
Besides winter for us is a harbinger of auspicious festivals like Diwali and days like Christmas, New Year, Lohri and host of others. It promotes love solidarity, camaraderie and unites people in celebratory reunions around dining tables, exquisitely laid with festive dishes; around fireside reliving nostalgically good old days of togetherness.
In the north winter’s uniqueness is reflected in its snow bound mountains and silvery hill tops dazzling in the early morning sun. What bliss to see the rosy cheeked children frolicking around, covered from head to toe!
Not to forget the romantic interludes, soulful rejuvenation and self connect in its long nights of cuddling and snuggling? The indescribable feeling of security mixed with mild alarm when the scary howling winds are raging outside and you’re warm and cozy under your fluffy quilt-an experience special only to winter nights.
Edith Sit well says: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
Winter is a play field for the adventurous and the courageous with the exciting and thrilling winter sports in Gulmarg in Kashmir and Shimla hills.
Now that we are in the throes of winter we’re already looking forward to the spring and console ourselves with these famous lines: “If winter comes can spring be far behind.”
Dear blog friends: It is said,
1. An optimist is one who borrows money to buy a lottery ticket.
2." If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless, if they disagree all the time, then both are useless." Darryl Fzamick