Winter is creeping in on us, which is unmistakable in the early morning haze that has descended rather early this year. The transition from autumn to winter is fascinating. The air becomes drier and lighter than before, trees pale and shrivel at the fright of the cold months, birds fortify their nests to brave the onslaught of cold blizzards. Bazaars announce sale of the summer season merchandise and promptly stock up on the coming season's clothes, and so forth. There is a distinct smell of groundnuts and sweets such as 'gajak' and 'rewaris' in the streets. Then there is that unmistakable smell of the coming festive and wedding season of revelry and merriment.
At home, in anticipation of the cold weather, there is a gradual but visible change. School-going children find it increasingly difficult to wake up and come out of the cozy confines of their warm beds in the morning hours. Early mornings are not as bright as they used to be and the morning hand automatically reaches the geyser now. The house now goes through the biennial ritual of meticulous unpacking and, most importantly, sunning of woollens and out come the heavy-duty mufflers, jackets, and yes, inners. Medicines to keep the cold and cough at bay also surface in the medicine cabinet.
There is no better experience in winter than "soaking in the sun" with warm friends to keep you company. Sunday brunches, bonfires and sleepovers become even cozier, engendering a warm bonhomie in the freezing mercury conditions. Winter, just as other seasons, has found its due place in literature with writers equating it to the life's final stage, old age. It is also symbolic of nostalgia, sadness and the end. To me, winter comes with a whiff of old-world charm and nostalgia. A time to dig deep into warm layers of clothing and your favourite book. It also stands for all things hopeful, in Shelley's famous words, 'If winter is here, can spring be far behind!"