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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

winter wins hands down

Winter to me is the best of seasons where joyous moments keep barging into each other at every step. It is that time of the year when the body accepts gladly those mouth-watering delicacies that decorate the showcases of the mithaiwallahs. In Kolkata, this is when nalen gur comes into the market. Sandesh prepared with this sweetener instead of the traditional sugar has a distinct flavor of its own. This is available for hardly three months starting from the Kali puja. When the train enters West Bengal early in the morning and you see people huddled up with their backs to the sun, you can smell the nalen gur in the air - it is something unique to Bengal.

Consider summer – the heat gets on your nerves, cold drinks and fruit juices leave you perspiring and tempers are always on boiling point. To counter the heat, you wear light colored dresses, to protect your face from the ravages of sunshine and dust, you cover up the exposed portions as best as you can – this is especially true for those who commute on two wheelers. For those who travel in air-conditioned comfort, life out of the cool environments is akin to torture chambers. Those who advise you to take care of your health keep harping on prickly heat powders and soaps, creams and lotions that allow you to regain your lost charms.

During the rainy season, water logged roads create mayhem to your travel plans. Journeys become unpredictable and you have to lug around those terrible contraptions called umbrellas and raincoats and gumboots. You cannot show off your new dress – it remains hidden. The advertisements that catch the eyes during this season are the ones for medicines related to cough, cold, stomach upsets and the like.

Winter is, undoubtedly, the queen of all seasons. There is freshness all around, flowers bloom in every nook and corner of the countryside, the markets overflow with the goodies of nature, vegetables are in abundance and – most importantly – this is the time to show off your wardrobes. Yes, pullovers, shawls, mufflers, and hand gloves are required to combat the biting cold – but there is variety, unlike umbrellas and raincoats and gumboots.

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