I woke up and got out of bed reluctantly today early morning. The floor was freezing cold. After rushing to bathroom in semi-darkness and knocking a plastic chair groggily on my return, I again climbed on my bed and checked the time on my mobile. It was 6.20 am. I pulled the sheets straight upto my forehead but could still feel the cold weather. I went deeper inside my sheets and cuddled my cold legs. I decided to sleep for more 10 minutes. That’s it.
Someone pushed me gently. I peeked through a gap from under my sheets and saw my roommate getting out of the bed.
“It’s 7.45 am! We are going to be late today!” she announced.
I woke up and sat straight. Was it really that late? I checked my mobile for the correct time. My roommate was right. We were indeed quite late today. Oh no. Not late for office. We were late for the inevitable process of making our lunchboxes :-)
This is the scenario from last week onwards. In Chandigarh, you can tell that the winter is approaching fast. We have stopped switching on the fan in our room at night. By the time it is morning, we think that nature must have switched on an invisible air-conditioner while we were dozing off at midnight. Nobody wants to get up early morning. Let the sun come out first and wait for it to spread its warm sunshine in our flat. Then one of us will get up and wake up the rest of the other sleepy heads. While brushing my teeth, I just don’t want to put my hand under the freezing cold water from the tap of the sink. It’s freezing cold!
The geyser is playing a spoilsport. Its life time is probably over and the actual winter has not even started. And hence it’s going to be a further round of arguments and accusations when the landlord will come for next month’s rent. When we come out of office before 8 pm, I feel colder outside in the open. The story inside the office is different. Folks come in my cubicle and declare that it is very cold out here. Why? Because one of the openings of the central air conditioner is directly above my cubicle. Nowadays, I am wearing my stole like a shawl and sitting on my chair like a very lazy person. I just wonder, if at all Infosys will allow me ever to bring dry twigs of trees, large and small branches, and thick logs, lots of cardboard and old newspapers. Then I would be able to strike a matchstick, start burning all the collected things one by one and thereafter enjoy a bright burning campfire in my cubicle cozily. Then whenever I would feel cold, I would just have to turn around, hold out my fingers towards the campfire till they become toasty warm, turn back and start typing again with faster speed:-)
My father insists me to buy some winter blankets. I say yes every time to him but I still have to go and buy one for myself. I and my roommate keep planning and postponing the purchase every weekday. Whenever we think of going to a shop in lunch or in the late evening, the communicator pops up with a message of share screen. And we get stuck up and postpone our plans for the next day again! It doesn’t help either that both of us have started coughing lately. Last week I had a severe throat infection. So I started drinking warm water every morning along with a tea-spoon of honey to get relief from the ache in my throat.
Though I shiver a lot in winters and I know this upcoming winter won’t be any less cold, I still look eagerly forward to it every year. This season is nostalgic and brings out childhood memories. Winter is tougher to bear in Northern states. When I was small, winters meant wearing hand-made sweaters at home. My aunts competed with each other on how many sweaters each of them would make this time. Sweaters used to be soft, sometimes scratchy and made with lots of affection and love. My grandfather purchased jackets for us. If I didn’t like the colour, I used to exchange it with my brother. Adults wore neatly designed shawls. The look of these shawls which was contrasting from the clothes worn, made me attracted to this piece of fabric since childhood. Noses used to turn red and lips would become dry. Ginger tea and hot milk used to be available nearly always in the kitchen. And what to say about winter weddings now! In such weddings, people wore branded clothes and refused to wear any jackets or shawls. If they wore any such thing, will their designer dresses be visible? Until they started shivering and got scolded for their stupidity by an elder, nobody used to touch a sweater. Come snow or hailstorm, people faced winters in their designer clothes at weddings with lots of shivering and cursing.
Childhood winters were so good. Whenever the temperature falls down too low, schools and colleges in Uttar Pradesh declare winter holidays. My little cousins enjoy and ask me to join them. I tell them that unfortunately, Chandigarh doesn’t have any snowfall and winter vacations are out of the question when I have become a professional. They grumble and ask me to fake that I have become ill and remain ‘absent’. I am forced to remind them that I am not in school anymore to do such things!
I wish I were Lucy Pevensie. Then I would have gotten an opportunity to have an adventure in the snowy mountains of Narnia. Or Kevin Maccalister from Home Alone. That would have landed me in lots of mischievous adventures indeed. Or I wish that I was Jack Sparrow and riding across different oceans on my very own Black Pearl. Or Harry Potter. Then I would have taken out my wand, make sweaters and blankets appear out of thin air in my cubicle, petrified the whole campus and gone on to take a very long lazy nap! Or I just wish that I was in my hometown. Then I would have been drinking very hot ginger tea right now and planning trips to different places even when it was so foggy outside that trains were getting cancelled, flights delayed and we were shivering and wearing fluffy hand-made sweaters :-)