Spectator by Seema Goswami: Winter is coming...
Here’s how you can best enjoy the season in the times of CoronaUpdated: Nov 01, 2020, 07:16 IST
This is my favourite time of the year in Delhi. When the mornings and evenings turn noticeably cooler. When the afternoon sun loses its searing intensity and softens into a benign rather than malign presence. When the nights draw in faster than ever and you can pretend that the day is done by 6 pm and get set to enjoy your evenings.
Yes, for those of us who live in the north of India, it has become clear over the last week or so that winter is coming. But the question that faces us all is what it will bring with it.
The bad news, of course, is that we are being told by the medical community that Covid cases are bound to go up as the temperatures go down. This has been borne out by events in Europe and America, where the cold weather has brought in a fresh wave of coronavirus cases. In fact, so high is the infection rate in some countries that they have had to enforce fresh lockdowns to try and break the chain.
We can only hope and pray that we don’t see this happen in India as well, as the cold intensifies. But given that viruses like these flourish at lower temperatures, we are bound to see a spike in cases here as well. So, the only solution is to hunker down in our bunkers, maintain social distancing, always wear a mask in public, and keep washing our hands as if our lives depended on it (spoiler alert: it does!).
So, if you are someone like me who longs for the arrival of winter every year, how can you responsibly enjoy this season in the times of Covid? Well, allow me to count the ways…
The best place to enjoy the bounty of winter is in the privacy of your own kitchen and you can indulge in all your personal favourites
The best place to enjoy the bounty of the season is in the privacy of your own kitchen. Winter greens are flooding the market now, and you can indulge in all your personal favourites. For me, that means gorging on sarson ka saag, drowned in industrial quantities of home-churned white butter, scooped up with a makki ki roti. It means adding a healthy dose of fresh methi leaves to every subzi I cook, from potatoes to gobi to paneer. It means snacking on freshly-harvested mooli, cutting the bitterness of the radish with a mouthful of something sweet like a peanut chikki. It means feasting on flavourful oranges, biting down on each segment and letting the juice explode in your mouth. It means… ah well, you get the picture.
The start of winter is also the best time to take a long walk in your neighbourhood park. There is a cool breeze to power you along rather than a sharp wind to throw you off your stride. You are not weighed down with multiple layers of clothing to ward off the cold. And better still, you need to work extra hard to break a sweat. (Not to mention that it’s not quite so uncomfortable under the mask!)
If the idea of leaving the sanctuary of your home for a walk seems a bit daunting as Covid cases refuse to go down, then just settle down in a corner of your house that gets the dappled afternoon sun, take an hour off to read a book while you enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea, or simply slip in your headphones and listen to some music. When the sun finally sets, you can enjoy the cool evenings while sitting on your balcony with a glass (or two) of wine and your better half.
As for me, I am waiting impatiently for the weather to get even colder, so that the Saptaparni (Alstonia) tree that overlooks my balcony starts flowering again. The smell of the blooms is so heady that if I could bottle and sell it, it would make me a millionaire many times over. But frankly, just breathing in that fragrance makes me feel like a million bucks. And, at the end of the day, that is all that truly matters.
The views expressed by the columnist are personal
From HT Brunch, November 1, 2020
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