Here we go round the mulberry bush!

If you ask me what my favorite season is, I would always say winter. When I was a kid, my friends would not agree with me saying summers were much better. One, because you have the 2 month long vacations, and two, you get to eat ice-creams. But I always loved winters better. And I still do.

Having spent all of my childhood in northern India, I have seen the coldest of winters. Meerut is situated around 75 Kms to the north of Delhi and gets to see temperatures slightly lower than Delhi, in fact as low as 1 degree Celsius. For us, winters would officially set in the day one of us would want the fans switched off or school announced the changed timings, which would be pushed from the regular 7 am to 8 am, whichever came first. The woolens would be excavated from the interiors of the cupboards. The colourful quilts will be brought down from the trunks in the attic. A tarpaulin sheet would be spread over the open grilled bit in the roof over the aangan or central courtyard. And we would be all set to welcome the season.

In school, I always loved wearing my blazer, more so if my mother would not force me to wear a sweater inside it. I somehow found the overall look of the grey and white uniform, with the navy blue tie with red stripes and the navy blue blazer on top extremely smart. Lil sis, I and two of our friends would walk to the bus stop each morning, immensely enjoying the spooky manner in which people would appear out of no where from the dense fog. The whole place would look like the sets of a bollywood movie where in the hero is either remembering something from his past life, or is getting glimpses from the future. All hazy, foggy and very spooky! And by the time we would reach, there would be a layer of white mist on our shoulders and head.

Winters also meant Christmas vacations. There would be a mandatory trip to the wool shop to pick the color of the sweaters ma would be knitting this time. Once dad would leave for work, all three of us (ma, sis and I) would pack ourselves in woolens, scarves, socks and at times even gloves and proceed on to the terrace. There would be a big packet of peanuts, along with knitting needles and wool for ma, and books for us. We would spend hours sitting in the sun, chit-chatting as ma would knit, or immersed in the Malory towers and Famous Fives.

And there would be oranges, my favorite fruit, and they somehow always tasted better in the cold weather. The sweet and sour juicy taste of it. And the strong fragrance that appears when you peel one, and which lingers on the fingers, numb from the cold, for quite some time after you are done devouring it. And home-made tomato soup. And once we were allowed to have it, the endless rounds of hot chai.

For New Years Eve, the only day we were allowed to stay up till mid-night, we would make all the arrangements before hand. The mattresses and the quilts would be carried to the living room, where we could sit cozily, munching on snacks and sweets and watching whatever they showed on DD. Daddy would somehow get bored the fastest and would go to bed at around 10:30. We would wait till it was 12, wish each other, wake up dad, wish him, and then get back to watching whatever was remaining before proceeding to bed.

All said and done, winters were always good fun. Even though it also meant frozen fingers and toes, endless sniffles, squabbles with mom who would always ask you to wear a scarf, chapped lips and dry skin. And now that I am at a place where you have none of it, I miss it even more. And I really doubt if I would actually be able to bear the cold anymore, after being away from it for 8 years now. But the memories remain, and every little thing triggers a bout of nostalgia. Whether it is frozen toes because of the air conditioning. Or the rare days when there is a cool breeze and  the sun feels warm on the skin rather than scorching it. And sometimes, even the fragrance of oranges. 


21 thoughts on “Here we go round the mulberry bush!

  1. Anonymous

    Best post ever…..
    yep!!! It inspired me to write a similar one in my blog…. which was originally a comment here..but then i figured… 🙂

  2. Re: Best post ever…..
    Thanks 🙂 Like I said in the post, the whole thing was triggered off because I was eating an orange!
    Anyways, would love to read your post if you left an identity, else it would take a while before I come across it 🙂

  3. Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din
    Baithe rahen tassavur-e-jaanaa kiya hue
    Ya Jaadhon Ki Narm Dhoop Aur, Aangan Mein Letkar,
    Aankhon Se Kheench Kar Tere Aanchal Ke Saaye Ko,
    Aundhe Padhe Rahe Kabhi ,Karwat Liye Huey
    Dil Dhoondta Hai …..
    Wonderful lyrics

  4. Anonymous

    My winter memories
    My winter memories revolve more around turtle neck sweaters, hot cups of coffee, nice spicy Mysore Rasams that Amma would make, Vicks inhalers, foggy morning rides on my trusty ol’ Kinetic Honda, amazing scenery at Cubbon Park, hot roasted peanuts from streetside vendors, and the occassional ice-creams.
    Very nostalgic post, this one.

  5. Re: My winter memories
    Ah, mysore rasam is actually a common factor here, though I missed it out! And yep, nostalgic it was, and as I mentioned somewhere above, it started with an orange 🙂

  6. Though there used to be a make believe winter in Gujarat where I lived for 4 years yet winters up in North have a distinct flavor to them. The warmth of sun mixed with the chill in the air. (I belong to Kanpur)
    The smell of blankets and winter wear taken out of storage. The gajaks and layyapatteez

  7. Anonymous

    As Usual, its splendid. I also got remembered of those foggy early morning school days, mamma knitting sweaters and many more but the one thing I miss most was I used to cycle down to a river about 9 kms from my home along with father and younger brother and return in those foggy and chilly winter mornings. I miss them a lot…I don’t understand but I have lost all my fun in this most stupid and idiot world.

  8. Re: Awesome…
    Thanks 🙂
    Its nice the way this reminded everyone of their good old childhood! Cycled to a river? Awesome! That should have been good fun!

  9. Which reminded me of the whole box of gajak I brought from this time and forgot to eat! 😀 Rewdis, gajak, and peanuts in front of the bonfire at the time of Lohri! Sigh!

  10. Anonymous

    Why the need for Public Journal ?
    Wish i could change places with you all..Its freezing out here and I am locked in my 15 x 15 ft room surfing net.
    I am a first-timer to this website and i am really impressed with people just letting all their emotions hang-out for the world to see.
    Can you give me a reason why the need?

  11. Re: Why the need for Public Journal ?
    He he, its nothing of a ‘need’ as you called it, it’s just fun to put what you feel like into words at times! And what better way than this to share it with people who might be thinking alike! You need to try it to understand it better 😉

  12. Anonymous

    Re: Why the need for Public Journal ?
    Are’nt journals by definition private?
    What are the odds that your co-worker, supervisor, client,recruiter, freinds, relatives, in-laws catch you writing something distasteful? now before you retort with ” I give a damn ” or “Thats who I am”…THINK hubris.
    This website sucks anyways because people who inhabit this website are usually people with very low E.Q and Me & Freud dont get allong well…. good luck & goodbye

    1. I am sure you hadn’t! It is like 3 years old! 🙂
      But seriously, I did remember I did the post when I commented, but I only read it later, and it is SO spooky alright! 😀
      Oh, btw, I am all in the ‘I want winters’ whiny mode now!

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