Let it snow, let it snow!

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Do you like snow? I definitely do. Have you been dreaming about it? I have grown up not just dreaming but obsessing about snowfall. I always imagined what it would actually look like, what the freezing temperature would feel like, which place on earth I would see it in and whether I would ever see it at all.

Whenever I watched scenes/songs from old iconic Shammi Kapoor movies (which showed the movie stars sliding down snow capped mountains) or movies filmed in the scenic Swiss Alps it would set me dreaming. Would I see snow in India? Would it be Shimla or Kashmir? I dreamed of going to Switzerland like so many Indians do. Would that ‘magical’moment ever arrive?

It did. I was visiting London in winter. I would check the weather forecast every single morning on T.V. I met a few Londoners and would ask them whether it would snow that year. They would be very surprised that I hadn’t seen snow. I forgot to tell them that in my country it only snows in the northern parts where I haven’t been. They said it didn’t always snow in London and like every year they were hoping for a white Christmas. I even asked them what the sky would look like. They said it would look dark, dreary and leady, just before. They got just as excited for me.

It was nearing the end of November and the temperature started to dip towards freezing point. I would keep looking at the sky, the clouds. Did they look leady? There were times when everything got still, quiet and dark.  It looked like it would snow any minute, but it didn’t.

November 29 2010, 3.00 a.m..

I was fast asleep. I heard my father calling out and say something incredible. Bleary eyed, I jumped out of bed, walked towards the window and looked outside. In the stillness of the dark, gloomy winter night and the silence of the streets; illuminated by the dim street lights was a whitish glow all around. I rubbed and blinked my eyes in disbelief. No, I wasn’t seeing things and I wasn’t dreaming this. It was a dream come true. It was a sight I will never forget.

It had snowed, not a lot, but just enough. At that unearthly hour, we got out our warmest clothes, went down the staircase and stepped out of the house to play. The snow crunched a little under our feet. When I picked it up,it felt a bit warm at first(not cold as I had anticipated)and then my hands started to freeze.

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More snow followed in December. It was a miraculous moment, to wake up and see this spectacle from our bedroom windows. The snowflakes looked so dainty and pretty as they fell.  They had already buried the roof and the road with what looked like scoops of vanilla ice-cream. I couldn’t get my eyes of this startling sight- it was so surreal. Imagine being treated to this sight just after waking up.

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Enchanting isn’t it?

Later while on a walk, we had only just reached the end of the street and there was a sudden surprise. It felt like we were being hit by something. Was it someone playing mischief and throwing snowballs at us? That someone was actually a snowstorm!  We were hit by a snowstorm. Armed with our umbrellas, we shielded ourselves. Although it was a short but heavy snow flurry, it was something special and delightful. We hurried back home and we had a most marvelous time playing outside. Those moments made the wait worth it.

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While it looks beautiful as it snows and just after it snows, it’s when it starts to melt and turns into ice that it can be a bit dangerous- it gets slippery to walk and drive on.

The following days was all about wrapping up in coats and scarves, wearing boots and going for walks in the chilly weather;walking past bakeries to the heavenly smell of freshly baked bread and goodies, shivering and walking into the warm cafes, to  have hot chocolate/ cinnamon latte, donuts, sandwiches, pretzels etc.

It was fun going to see the Christmas lights and displays, heading early morning for the Christmas sales and the fantastic Christmas markets- enjoying the many rides, listening to Christmas songs and gorging on warm festive food like Bratwurst sausages, crepes, churros, chestnuts and mulled wine.

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It was great watching people skate on the ice rinks (and wishing I could too ) and meeting Santa in his grotto. Later at home, we built a snowman(it wasn’t as easy as I had thought) and baked some turnips.

Right now here in India I feel baked, toasted and roasted.It’s summer and it  is sweltering hot! I am longing for some cool climate. If it’s snowing in your part of the world, do parcel and send me some snow here 😉

 

On my bike, get set, go!

I was about ten when I learned to ride a bicycle. After several futile attempts earlier (with help) I decided I was going to learn to ride without anyone’s help. One fine day, I asked my neighbouring friend for company (who was struggling as well). I told her of my plan to hire and ride a bicycle in three hours! Yes,three hours was going to be our dedicated deadline.

So, off we went jingling our pocket money. We came back with our hired bikes( which by the way were rusty and rickety). We decided that her place was perfect to accomplish our task; there was ample space around her garden as well as good outdoor tiling. So, with her at one end and me at the other end of the garden; with one eye on our cycles and one on our wrist watch, we began!

We stood athwart the bicycles, held on tight to the handlebars and then  heaved ourselves onto our seats (too high for us). We slipped, heaved back and then slipped again. We held harder, and then after a few kicks in the air, pushed down the pedal. We tried not to fall off, we tried to pedal and we tried our best to balance all at the same time. We kept skidding down the seats again and again.

At times we managed to pedal, but just a bit; lost our balance and regained it. We went left, right, zig zag, we went forward and wayward. We panted, puffed and perspired. We egged each other when felt like giving up. We were in tears but refused to give up. Those three hours meant everything to us.

No one had told or forced us to do this. We had simply challenged ourselves. Those three hours were ticking by and we were exhausted with this self imposed ordeal. Yet, without a single break, we continued the nonstop drill of heaving,slipping, pedalling and falling.

Our efforts were slowly beginning to bear fruit. We found ourselves pedalling a little distance. That was encouraging enough. We managed to smile but just a little. Although fatigue had set in, we kept at it.

Three hours were almost up and we did not realize that. We were too busy and too determined with the last hurdle- to keep pedalling/cycling for as long as possible. We gradually found that happening.

I could not believe it when I suddenly found myself and also saw my friend cycling away. All those hours suddenly seemed worth it.Our resolve had paid off .We returned our bicycles and got back home moaning, groaning and complaining; but also very pleased and happy with ourselves. Our hands, legs and particularly our palms felt very  sore.(after gripping the handles so hard)  .

We continued our practice (turning) in the days that followed.We were still beginners and one day while cycling I  saw my friends sister  bike learning all by herself (we must have inspired her). She was on her bike in a narrow gap in the garden using the tree as her aid. I  came cycling all fast and  furious. I thought I get past her in the narrow lane. I could not control the speed, gave a warning cry to move and knocked her down!

She caught hold of the tree  and went down with it into the bushes. We laughed a lot, she got up and she carried on. I don’t know if she learned to cycle after that. I am not  even sure if they remember this. If you’ll are reading this, I hope you remember this memory is for you and about you 😉

 

 

 

My bucket list

1. Visit childhood places-To re-visit some places in my childhood where I grew up for pure nostalgia and re-live those beautiful memories all over again.

2. Go GOA-To visit great Goa frequented by Indians and foreigners but which has been totally jinxed for me (travel plans had to be cancelled on two occasions!!). They say everything happens for a reason and for the best, but just this once I disagree.

3. TRAVEL for a fun holidayNorth India-. Always made plans to travel north but never made it happen. Would love to go to Agra (see the Taj Mahal) Himachal Pradesh (especially Dharamshala) Meghalaya and Kashmir and experience the beauty and magic of my country.

Scotland and Europe– After travelling so close to these places so many times, I still have not visited these places. There is something charming about all things Scottish. As for Europe, even if cannot see all of it, I would do anything for a nice relaxed holiday in Switzerland, Paris and Amsterdam (for the tulip gardens). Getting photographed with a backdrop of all famous places/monuments is an absolute must.

4. TRAVEL for food– I dream of going to different countries not just to experience the diverse culture but to try out their food. I want to go on a ‘food eating spree’- it could be street food/‘finger food’/ famous dishes or my favorite dimsums-just want to go all out.
U.S.A– Also, after watching the T.V shows ‘Eat Street’ (which shows these American food trucks serving the most delicious, mouth-watering food that you can imagine.) I would run to treat myself there. (This will be followed by sightseeing and plenty of shopping (clothes, cosmetics and American food)

South East Asia -Would love to sample and taste all the street food and drink in this part of the world. It would be great hopping from one stall to the other and experimenting with all the delicacies that these places have to offer. (not the ones with weird names/ meat though). Having hot Thai boat noodles served on floating boats while it rains would be simply divine. Also, would like to taste all the yummy sweet treats.

5. To work from home– Don’t know if this one goes into a bucket list or not, but have been dreaming of this for quite some time now. Whether I want to work for somebody or have my own business I still have not figured.

6 .Playing the Piano and a having pet – I know a pet and piano are not connected(other than the common alphabet P!) Never mind. Playing the piano is an unfulfilled dream; which I had as a kid. Always admire anyone who can play those soothing and sweet melodious tunes. Though I can play the keyboard very well, it would be nice to able to play this musical instrument. Better late than never. Ah, and I have always wanted a pet dog (a Labrador).

7. See/meet celebrities– I have seen some famous personalities like cricketers/ filmstars in the past, but none in recent times. So, whether it is our current Indian cricket team or our Bollywood actors, I am always on the lookout to see some or at least one of these famous stars. Hope to see one soon or I will go out of my way to see one.

8. A mini makeover– Hair, make-up and clothes all done by a professional. Would like to look like a mini celebrity with a brand new look just for a day. For that matter, I am also wondering about a virtual makeover. It would great fun to wander out someday for window shopping and try on clothes/shoes/ hats and even a variety of wigs(in different colours and lengths) which I would never do otherwise.

9. The night life– Discos, pubs, bars and casinos. Not for dancing or drinking! Simply for the experience- just to see how people look/what people do at these places. I would like to venture out with a big group of family/friends. Whether it is Mumbai or Vegas I don’t care.

10.A visit to a beach– Earlier, it was always the snow that I wanted to see.Now that this is off my wish list (though I can never get enough of snow and would definitely want to see it again…and again…) Right now, I am really desperate to go to any serene and pristine beach where there is nothing but the sand and sea( if not Goa any other proper beach would do) I am not a fan of the sun, so I would like to spend an entire evening relaxing on the sand, watching the sun set, see and hear nothing but the waves coming in and splash at my feet. I would like my mind to be absolutely clear, calm and at peace. This can be followed by playing to my heart’s content in the water, sipping a nice cool drink and taking selfies. Although I would be super scared a ride in a hot air balloon would be a grand way to finish off the day.