As children growing up in Pondicherry, we hardly owned any sweaters. I distinctly remember 1984 when Dad was transferred to Chandrapur in autumn. The first winter caught us unawares and there was a rush to buy navy blue sweaters for the school uniform. My mother knitted furiously. However, we hardly experienced extreme cold weather. Winter lasted for not more than 10 days.
But since the last few years, Nagpur and its surroundings have witnessed longer winters. The mercury has dipped to around 3 degrees Celsius this year. For me, it has been a welcome time. I finally got to air and flaunt all the winter clothes that I have been buying at wholesale rates from Ludhiana since all these years. And didn’t they stink of naphthalene balls when I first extracted them out of the cupboards after so long! Nevertheless, I do look forward to winters because I love the colours, the layers, and the mixing and matching.
But there is another reason why I look forward to winters. It is a time when I love to cook. During the scorching summers of central India, standing next to a burning flame is a no-no. Then, I use all excuses to stay out of the kitchen. But now, cooking in a kitchen alongside a warm burner is so soothing. And who doesn’t love steaming hot methi, aalu, gobi, paneer, mooli and matar parathas straight off the tawa. Nothing like warm soup or crisp pakoras to warm you up in the chilly evenings. It is the season of fresh green vegetables in the market. My personal favourite is nimona made of green peas. We wait eagerly for this time of the year for the delicious sarson ka saag and makke di roti. No one cribs about calories when you decide to slow cook some gajar halwa.
The reason why I’m listing all this drool-inducing stuff on a Saturday night, is simple. This is the best time to start hankering for your favourite foods to whoever is cooking for you on a Sunday. What thou shall seek, thou shall get!