I abhorred winters. The idea of cold, dark, dreary, foggy days made me wince. My Bengali genes couldn’t handle the cold North Indian winters, despite having spent most of my life in this belt, along with a small stint at New Castle Upon Tyne where it snowed heavily. The onset of winters inundated a sense of melancholy. I couldn’t but wait for it to end and for the Spring and Summer to arrive.
Winters for me translated into layers of clothing. While most people would be fine with two layers on a very cold day, I would need at least 5. And to top it all a neck wrapped in a muffler or a polo neck, and ears covered with beanie, or a woollen cap; thankfully not a monkey cap! My body clock also would shift in winters from the usual waking up time of 5 A.M. to 7 A.M. However hard I tried I could not get myself out of the warm, cosy confines of my quilt. This meant, less day hours, and giving up my early morning regime of working out. I would wriggle out of wedding invitations as I could not imagine myself wearing all the wedding finery minus any warm layers. That’s how morbid my fear was towards winters. You will be appalled to know I also backed out of a grand family reunion at Varanasi, towards November end, a few years back because I could not fathom myself being a part of that boat ride, on the Ganges, in the chilly evening. Imagine the scale of fun, laughter and bonhomie I missed out due to this irrational fear for the season, which some look forward to and cherish. Over the last few years the global warming has given way to less intense winters and slowly but surely my discomfort has abated. You will be surprised to know it has paved way for a sense of appreciation and fondness for this season. A season that is replete with holiday cheer, celebrations, sun-kissed, sometimes sepia tinted days. I feel less maudlin, more happier.
This year has been especially different. I’m enjoying soaking in the glory of winters, as the foggy morning have been less frequent visitors. But then so far so good.
Toasting up by the sun is my favourite pass time along with an unputtownable book. The warm, golden glow of the glorious sun on my shoulder, as I sit on my bean bag punching these lines is indescribable.
The nights are replaced by a warm mug of hot chocolate, snuggled up in my warm and cosy velvety quilt. And the copious mugs of coffee during the day or the classic ginger-tulsi-honey tea. A hug in a mug, some would say.
The wide array of fresh food produce-fruits and vegetables in myriad hues and options makes food a fun experience and not to forget my favourite, healthy salads and soups for supper.
The bursting hues of Poinsettia, pansies, ice flowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, dahlias and others portend ample winter cheer.
Though I have been deprived off late of one of my favourite activities which is working out and cycling due to a back issue, I love the fact that winters allow us to work out any time of the day. It’s so much fun to go for a run even in the late afternoons or a spin on the cycle during the day.
And no I didn’t forget the distinct varieties of shoes and boots and the winter wear that add a whole new dimension to our style statement.
We are also able to grow such a variety of vegetables like rocket leaves, lettuce, kale, chard, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, celery, parsley, beet root, cabbage and so on so forth in our terrace garden, this time of the year. So it’s organic farming overload.
And have you bitten into a Chikki (Jaggery peanut candy) on a cold winter afternoon post lunch? I assure you it is bliss unlimited. Yes, sometimes it is ok to forgo the demonic thoughts about calories!
I was almost forgetting those lazy days of picnicking at the Lodhi gardens, or the nearby park. Just pack in a quick bite, grab the shades, throw in a mat and we are all set to make it a memorable day in the lap of nature. That too with our four-legged furry kids. Now that is fun unlimited really.
So, the perks of being in winter do outweigh being not. So while I’m in it, I’m going to welcome this season with open arms, and enjoy it moment by moment by moment. Who knows tomorrow might be a dark, gloomy day, but I will still be carrying that sunshine on my shoulder from today morning.