If you go out and ask random people you meet on the road, I am confident most of them would prefer winters over the summers. I may be wrong here, but I for one love the winters. Summers…. I don’t like much. Not that I detest them, but the sweating and the harsh heat of the day which confines you to the house is something that I don’t like. Summers pull the mucus out of your throat and abandon you thirsty in want of cold water, not refrigerator cold or mildly cold but ideal cold like that from an earthen pot or sweet water from a freshet. The only thing cheerful about the summers is the ‘Chilled Beer’. Oh, how I adore the smoky taste of a good beer. A bottle of beer relieves you from the stress of the day and recharges the minerals of the body. Of course, being a beer lover I have all the sugary words in favour of it, but, yes, I never drink a bottle after the first one.
I also don’t like autumn as much as I should. Although autumn for most people is insignia of romance, for me it evokes a feeling of melancholy. Not that I feel depressingly sad all the autumn, but when I take a closer look outside the window, my heart feels gloomy. This is because the hills start changing their attire from bright-green to faded-gold, and they resemble the wrinkled face of an old man in his nineties. Watching the leaves fall from the trees is again a sight not so encouraging, for a tree without leaves is like a bald old melancholic man standing in front of your door.
One thing gratifying about the autumn is that it gives way to the winters. And you know winters have arrived not when you dust off your previous year’s moth-eaten woollens but when the large heaps of black clouds come drumming over the roof of your house, and the downpour starts heavily like a battle being fought all around. For few days you hear nothing but the songs of the rain, and the clouds travel low, low, low until you can feel them right outside your window. They become your guest and stay around to amuse you. They cover the surroundings like a magician’s veil before a magic show, and when the merrymaking and the drum-beating is over, they bid farewell to the pointed pine trees and the mountain peaks and leave behind everything painted in white.
Life is different in the winters. Anything you touch leaves on you a cold, romantic sensation. The days become shorter and the nights allow you to sleep needlessly more under the soft, cosy quilts. In the morning you step out of the warmth with a heavy heart and start the day in a haste looking to complete your chores before the dark falls; and who knows the brigade of the black clouds might be marching towards you anytime soon.
As the dark sets in, you move into the warmth of the house to sit around the fire or a heater and munch popcorn, jaggery biscuits, and sip hot tea. Or if you are like me, you pick a mug of hot water and move into the solitary corners of the house and sit by a window and drain a bottle of ‘Old Monk’ to fill a glass and say cheers to the winters and burn your throat……