Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My daily phone calls to mum have had a pretty consistent theme over the last couple of months: 'Its cold here, mum. I cant stand it.'

I welcome winter when it comes. After the scarcity of the monsoons, lush veggies begin to fill the markets. Winter greens: fenugreek, mustard, assorted spinaches, beet and radish greens, strange water-loving leaves and winter roots: turnips, multiple varieties of radishes, beets, carrots dominate the stalls. Zucchini, pumpkins and brassicas are cheap and plenty. With these and assorted beans, I make warming soups- a different one each day. My Mian creates magic with greens- making pestos, and tortellini, and all manner of wonderful things. We don't need to worry about cooking too much either. In the summer and the monsoon, foods spoil with distressing rapidity. Rice cooked in the afternoon often spoils by the evening. But the winter! we can comfortably keep cooked food, opened cartons, even milk overnight and find it sweet and fresh.

It might be cold and dark outside, but I warm up the house with materials the colour of jewels. My old chanderi sarees, assorted bright woolens, heaps of citrus fruits and bright green branches glow in golden light and banish the dark from our home. Natural fabrics, rough weaves and candles try to create warmth. We have popcorn, and hot chocolate, and exotic teas. The bed is heaped with quilts and throws. Paraffin wax-and-oil unguents are created and religiously applied. After the hot summer and humid monsoons, there is pleasure in dressing in layers, in welcoming the feel of cloth on ones skin.

All this is fine in moderation. As far as I am concerned, December is where it should end. I would like to not dread climbing into a chilly bed, or having once warmed it up, dread climbing out again. I would like my fingers to not feel like needles are being shoved into them every time I do the laundry. I would like my skin to not resemble that of an alligator. Enough, I say beseechingly. We've barely begun, say the himalayas.

If the mountains wont budge, its time for us two weeks, Mian and I travel south. We visit my hometown, spend time with family. It has been a year since I've been there- an entire year since I've been home. The warmth of loved ones and actual hot weather- I cant think of a better combination. So excited and happy.

And in 48 hours, my Mian comes home. So very excited and happy.


Unmana said...

Your home is wonderful: full of warmth, and not just due to fabrics and colors.

And oh, the greens in your town's markets! I was so tempted to buy some.

See you soon, I hope!

nadi said...

agree with Unmana.
and glad to hear that Tortellini man is coming home.
things were warm; now they are going to get Hot

sorry. a 'family audience' blog this

Banno said...

I agree with you. I like the cold for around 2 days. :) Though the vegetables are awesome. With a special winter sweetness.

So, have a nice trip southwards. Welcome to the heat.