It is not quite December and it is snowing outside.
I grew up with wistful visions of lovely snowfalls. Very few parts of India see snow. And since my economical parents wanted to save money on woollies, they made sure we never visited them in winter. But snowfalls still sneaked into our lives, thanks to Hollywood and all the Christmas releases. No wonder I thought that snowfalls always come packaged with romance, comedy and Christmas lights.
All that changed circa, February 2008, Amsterdam. And I learnt the hard lesson that snowfalls usually come with slush, annoyance, traffic jams, misery and, if you are really unlucky – a broken hipbone. In England, it usually comes with broken public transport as well, just to add to the fun. Needless to say, I am cured me of snowfall sickness forever.
England, for some odd reason, seems to be in denial about its proximity to the North Pole. In other Northern European countries that I lived in, people seemed more at peace with their winters. All houses compulsorily came with double-glazed windows, and as soon as the trees would start shedding their leaves, people would start bulking-up. Fashion was given a short shrift as they all bundled-up in their excellent, expensive winter coats, gloves, thermals and hats. By the time, the snow arrived – nobody even noticed it.
London’s Picadilly Circus knows only one season: that which requires girls in mini-skirts and sheer tights. Winter coats are designed more for fashion than for heavy snowfalls, and places like M&S don’t even stock real woollen cardigans. What you find are sweater lookalikes made out of synthetic mixes. Everything is cheap and most of it is useless. And all the three houses we have lived-in in London have had no double glazing. Public transport breaks down every winter and gas prices soar. And the worst part is: everyone appears shocked by the cold – every year!
But I have made my peace with winter. So if you see a tent waddling its way around London, do stop to say hi!
PS: My favourite winter memory relates to the song Hey There Delilah. Mostly because the Turkish-German cafe in Hamburg that I spent most of my 2008 winter in was always playing this song. So I always somehow associate winter with Hamburg, descending darkness outside, a cappucino cup warming my fingers and Hey There Delilah playing in the background. Here's to winters and Hey There Delihah.
Stopping by the hood on a snowy evening on PhotoPeach