Monday, November 19, 2012

Winter is here..!

I have heard people say that the end of the festive season marks the beginning of winter in India. Sure enough, it’s not even a week since Diwali and it already time to get those warm clothes out, at least in Bangalore. Winter was one of my favorite seasons until I experienced its extreme version in the US! Thankfully, with winters being much milder here than in the most parts of the western world, it can now go back to being my favorite season once again! J Though the winter chill is restricted mostly to early mornings and late evenings, Bangalore is a lot cooler even during the day in the months of November and December. In the US, winter is the time to head indoors whereas in India (at least South India), this is the best time to host any outdoor event as one does not have to worry about the scorching heat! For instance, most schools and colleges host their cultural fests and events during the winter months. Besides, what better time than winter for those silk and nylon fabrics that you can never even dream of wearing during other seasons! It is ideally suited for vacation in India as the weather is most tolerable in even the hottest places in India. Finally, the best excuse to go a little overboard on your caffeine intake as a cup of hot coffee or tea doesn’t taste the same in any other season like it does in winter! :-)

I had picked up this book in advance to be read when the time was right and well, I think the time has come! “Hot Tea and Wam Rugs by Mala Kumar, Manisha Chaudary and Priya  Kurien, part of the Ritu Chakra series on different seasons brought out by Pratham publications gives a good introduction to winter in India. Narrated in first person, a young girl and her brother are excited to take out their winter school uniforms and wonder what’s in store for them this winter. When their mother takes them to the famous Groundnut fair in Bangalore, held during November, they also learn about the various other winter fairs like Ponkh festival in Gujarat and the Camel Fair in Pushkar and the Desert Fair in Jaisalmer. As she sprints to school wearing her bright blue sweater, she realizes that her hands are cold and notices a frosty cloud come out of her mouth as she talks. She learns from her friend Rajni who hails from Shimla about how children play in the snow and make a giant snowman in the hilly regions, how they can’t get out without their winter gear (OH!…I know that feeling!) and stay warm by drinking hot tea or milk with jaggery. She also can’t wait to snuggle up her grandma with a book, this winter. Winter ushers in the festival of Sankranthi, where specialities are made with sesame seeds and jaggery which help one stay warm in the cold season! So I guess even though it doesn’t snow here, winter still has a lot to offer! Enjoy the winter, everyone!

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