Is it just me, or is there a marked absence of the cold in this winter?

It’s my favorite season by far, winter, and for a variety of reasons. Puneri afternoons come equipped with a particularly welcome cooling breeze, for one, while the old appetite acquires a keenness that can only be satiated by feasts fit for a king, and that too on a daily basis. Rides on the bike become thoroughly enjoyable, because the fingers acquire a degree of numbness that feels just right. Your breath becomes visible in the early hours of the morning, and mufflers, caps, scarves, mittens and ear caps all come tumbling out of the closet during these blessed months.

The floor feels cold to the touch, and you are forced to walk around in slippers throughout the day. Guavas and strawberries are to be found in abundance at the fruit seller, and above all, it is only during these months that one experiences the sensual pleasure of lifting the blanket up with your feet so that it slides under them. And then you wait, without moving, for the cold to ebb away slowly, and the warmth to permeate throughout, as you drift off gently into slumberland. Winter at its very best, that moment when you feel warm enough to be able to fall asleep. Absolute magic.

Well, now, what I wanted to say was that all that has barely happened this year. There has been the occasional cold spell, I grant you, but none of the things I described up above have happened long enough for me to call this winter, and that puts this Puneri in a very cantankerous mood indeed. It doesn’t take much to put Puneris in a cantankerous mood, I agree – a pothole on the road is more than enough stimuli – but a winter without it being cold is a crisis of nothing less than epic proportions.

For what is Pune without its winter? Its summer is passable, I grant you, and compared to the sauna that the rest of the country seems to turn into, it actually isn’t all that bad, but it sure as hell isn’t the best time to be in Pune. And over the last few years or so, the rainy season has gotten along with it a distinct twinge of humidity. Not unbearable – we aren’t talking Chennai levels here – but still, the rainy season isn’t anymore the pleasant thing it was in the past.

But really, it is only in winter that Pune truly comes into her own. Bundled up kids tumbling into and out of school rickshaws, kindly old grandmothers in pale blue sweaters out for their morning walks, a thick soupy foggy morning that makes one want to snuggle ever deeper into the blanket, steaming mugs of coffee and hot, warming cups of ginger tea – these are all things that winter ought to be about, and the weather is just not cold enough this time around.

And the reason I worry so much is because January is all but over, and before you know it, February will be upon us. And February, let me warn you, is one slippery customer. It starts off all chilly and cool, but before you know it, the fan is on 3 at night, and one starts to dig out the remote for the airconditioner by the end of the month. The lesser said about the months that follow, the better. They come with mangoes, I’ll grant you, but not much else.

Which is why I’d really appreciate it if the weather gods didn’t slack off so much on the job during this critical juncture, and put in solid eight hour shifts, and get the old Puneri winter back as soon as possible.

The world would be better off if winter was actually coming.

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni