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Journalist, Author, Columnist. My Twitter handle: @seemagoswami

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cold comfort

Enjoy the winter while you can; the sun will be scorching down before you know it

It’s that time of the year again. When the days get a little longer; the mornings a little brighter; and the sun a little stronger. But while most people are getting all excited about the coming of spring, I have to confess that I am mourning the passing of winter, which always seems to end too soon for me. It’s almost as if one moment I am airing my sweaters and coats in preparation of the cold to come, and the next I am wrapping them away until next year…

I guess it is true what they say: time flies quickly when you’re having fun. And how much fun the winter is! It’s the only time when you can actually enjoy the great outdoors, whether it is for a meal, a drink, a picnic, or just a walk. This is the time to savour the tart goodness of oranges, to gorge on the wholesome greenness of meethi, to overdose on peanut chikki, and eat your fill of this season’s staple, sarson da saag and makki di roti. And this is the only time you can actually wear those gorgeous boots and jackets you spent a fortune on, and which have been gathering dust at the back of your wardrobe for months.

Honestly, what’s not to love about winter? The days start off all misty and foggy, so that you can pretend for a couple of hours that you live in the mountains and not in the middle of urban sprawl. And when the sun does come out, it brings with it a welcome warmth, not the searing heat of the summer that burns you to a crisp. The evening sets in quickly, so that you can hurry home and huddle with your loved ones, or head out to party with your friends. And then, it’s time to snuggle down in bed, weighed down by soft, downy blankets. Bliss!

But most of all, there’s the cold. The lovely, lovely cold! The kind that turns the tip of your nose a delicate pink. The kind that makes your breath fog up every time you breathe out. The kind that hits you with a blast when you venture outdoors and makes you feel glad to be alive. The kind that ensures you appreciate the warmth of your home and hearth even more.

How can anyone not love the cold? How can the words ‘Winter is coming’ not make your heart sing? (With due apologies to George R.R. Martin!) And how can its departure not make you a little sad?

Well, if you are anything like me and are mourning the imminent demise of winter, here are some suggestions to make the most of its final days.

Host a terrace party: There’s only a couple of months in a year that your terrace is usable; at all other times it is either too hot, too cold, or too wet. So, before it becomes inhabitable once again, call your friends over, set up a bar, pop some corn, serve up some snacks and enjoy the last of the good weather.
Gather around the bonfire: There’s something infinitely comforting about sitting around a blazing fire, strumming a guitar, chatting with friends, having a drink (or four) and letting the warmth – of both the fire and the company – envelop you. I guess the Punjabis knew a thing or two, or else they wouldn’t have invented the festival of Lohri!
Enjoy a lie-in: Winters and lazy days go hand-in-hand. So, take a day off work, have breakfast in bed, sun yourself on your balcony, curl up with a good book and a piping hot cup of masala chai, and just chill (sorry, the pun was entirely fortuitous). There’ll be time enough for work once summer descends upon us.
Go for a nice, long walk: This is the only time you really need to work out to work up a sweat (as opposed to the weather doing your work for you). So, head out to a leafy park to stretch your legs, or simply pound the pavements in your neighbourhood. If that seems like a pointless exercise (these puns are really getting out of hand) you can always undertake a walk with a purpose. Go on an art walk to see the many treasures of your city; a historical walk to feast your eyes on the monuments you never knew existed; or a food walk to simply feast.
Organize a wedding: If you, or a loved one, is getting married, this is the time to do it, or forever hold your peace (or, at least, until next winter). If we must get trussed up in Banarasi saris and three-piece suits, then we’d really much rather do it while there is still a nip in the air. Or else we’ll just be sweating into our silks and trust me, you really don’t want that.
And did I mention parathas? If they are not the staple of your winter breakfast yet, then you are missing a trick. Gorge on the gobhi and mooli (aloo you can have all around the year) ones while these vegetables are still in season. And before it gets too hot to even think of food. 
Go on, what are you waiting for? Seize the Sunday, for before you know it, it will be summer!

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