The wintery things

I am autumn’s child who eagerly waits for winter. Arriving in this world in late October, I could probably feel the nip in the air and the changing season and when it got colder I loved it. My mom talks about knitting caps for the little me and keeping me wrapped in blankets. Our house had a tin roof then and it would get very cold at night, she reminisces. But I am sure I loved those chilly nights.

Winter has always been my favorite season, the time of the year when I crave for a break, a winter vacation like when we were in school. Of course, the break came after the exams and I didn’t particularly enjoy being woken up early on cold mornings to study for exams.

For winter is a lazy month when you are not in a hurry to leave the warmth of the bed. But when you do walk out in the cold it’s fun as well. I remember walking to the bus stop in winter uniform on misty mornings, sitting in the sun peeling oranges and chatting with friends during lunch breaks. On weekends, we would sit in the garden in the afternoon sun and peel and eat roasted groundnuts. My mom and aunts would be busy knitting sweaters for someone or the other in the family.

On some mornings, vendors selling fresh palm juice or taler rash would come to our little towns. They would walk from nearby villages carrying palm juice in earthen puts. My grandmother would summon them immediately and all of us would be served fresh palm juice in big steel glasses. The intoxicating sweetness of palm juice added a delicious, earthy flavour to those winter mornings.

And on Christmas, there was a mandatory picnic. We would drive down to a nearby park or lake. Then men and the children would gather dry twigs, and wash rice, dal and mutton. The ladies would start cooking. The taste of that freshly cooked mutton and rice is something that will stay with me forever.

Winters still make me lazy; my heart craves for those little wintery pleasures that I left behind. Palm juice is a rarity now and winter is about mulled wine and hot toddy. Of course, I enjoy these hot winter drinks as well but they are no match for a glass of fresh palm juice.

Every winter, my dream of a mountain abode beckons me. I often imagine myself, building a small house on a hilltop and taking a walk unhurriedly on misty mornings, my morning trails determined by my mood, not by a schedule!

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