“Winter is here!”
“So, What a big deal? It comes every year!”
Right! But these days, the winter is totally different from the one during my childhood (early childhood to be specific). Winter at that time meant, ‘all play and no study’. Winter break would stretch for more than two months. A lot of fun time, you see!
Today I am feeling somewhat nostalgic as the frozen memories of early days decided to thaw, making their way down the cheeks just like the trickling from snow laden rooftops after a meltdown.
Christmas, in our part of world, is also known as ‘Bara Din’ meaning ‘Big day’ and it always used to be white, back then. I have been quite fond of snow since my childhood. I would pray for snow, every night before sleeping, and in the morning would rush out to see it first. If it wouldn’t snow, disappointed but hopeful, I would wait for the next night!
Weather in hills is known for its mood swings and to the joy of our hearts, it would snow when most unexpected. We would stand outside our home, with outstretched arms to feel the light snow flakes on our skin. With a lot of uproar, we would welcome the long awaited merry-maker.
Snow was an annual phenomenon, still, its charm never faded to us. I remember how each and every flaw of the neighbourhood would get covered so beautifully and it would look like a fairy land.
There used to be a hut with a grass rooftop in front of our house; snow would transform it to visual treat, receding slowly towards Earth and making icicles down the edges. Gosh! What a beauty!
As children are always children! Our gang would break these icicles and pretend as if having some weapons of war. Our hands would give up soon to the freezing cold. As per its nature, heat would travel away from our body, thereby melting our weapons and making them useless soon. Granny would yell from the window not to play with the snow but who would listen?
After getting totally numb, we would rush to the fireplace. Mommy, on seeing our completely sopping clothes, would give new set of woollens to wear, however with strict instructions of not going out again! We would nod but once the body would regain the vigour, in no time we would vanish in to the locality to witness its new avatars!
We would climb up the low lying roofs and slide down with the snow capes. We used to make it a point to spoil the snowy possessions of others while preserving ours. The expeditions would continue until our body felt nothing but fatigue. On finding the untouched smooth snow spreads in the open fields, we would mark the territory with different symbols including our initials or body impressions (standing with our back facing the snow followed by a free-fall, companions would help getting up so that we get a perfect one!). Personal favourite was the portrait of heart with a piercing arrow (It wasn’t easy for little feet, trust me!).
So simple but still so much fun! This might sound weird but we would eat fresh snow, however, always far from the sight of elders. Although, it was never desired, we had to return back home to get some warmth.
Life used to stop for adults as everyone had to stay at home. To make most of it, they would also indulge themselves in unusual activities. I remember Papa axing the logs, and Mom collecting the pieces, and piling them up on a ‘Sigri’ to be burned later in the evening. All of us would gather around the fire and relish funny jokes and stories of Kings and Queens. The ambiance would lighten up with the laughter and the togetherness…
To be continued…