Daughter: “Papa – just get your light jackets and sweaters from India for layering. It gets too cold in Toronto. You need to buy your winter wear here. No point in carrying your heavy jackets from India. You need proper snow jackets and boots”.
Papa: “But I have my winter jackets. We are from Simla. I know all about snow and winters- grew up playing in snow. You also!! I have spent my whole life in Simla. We do not even have central heating or 24 hours hot water facility in homes. I still walk in snow to go to the grocery store. I taught you kids how to make a snow man. I can plough snow like a pro without using high end machinery.
Daughter: “Papa, please listen to me. It will snow soon here in Toronto. It will get freezing cold. I do not want you to fall sick here. I want you to enjoy snow, Christmas and festivities here. Moment you land here we will go for winter shopping- parka, snow boots, gloves, cap, neck warmer, mufflers. Ok”?
Papa: OK. Who has ever won an argument with a grown up kid and of course wife!!
Almost two weeks ago, I landed in Toronto with my light winter wear. As my landing coincided with Black Friday Sale, my daughter shopped and shopped for me.
I am a hard-core Simlahite- born brought up , worked for most of my life in Simla – infact my everything starts and ends with Simla. There is a family joke – “Papa for you everything best is in Simla only. You see word Simla and that thing automatically becomes best and unbeatable”! Post retirement, I had to move out of Simla to live with my son. Plains are good but SIMLA is SIMLA and I miss my Simla winters the most.
I am really looking forward to enjoy winters in Toronto, especially SNOW– so many childhood memories are linked to these tiny soft cotton like balls. Colorful Hand knit sweaters, sharing boots with the friends, riding on wooden sleighs made by our tiny hands, eating peanuts and pinnis, cuddling and snuggling in quilts, running barefoot in snow – snow was never cold back then .
Every morning, when I make my grandson wear a snow-pant, I go back to, ‘how we use to be out playing in snow wearing a thin pant’. Snow was and will always be about endless fun and Happy Cherished Memories.
I have promised my 5 year old grandson to make a wooden sleigh, one with which I use to play, for him. We have made all plans to make snowman, snow bunny and what not!!
Grandson: Dadu, do you know how to make a snowman?
Dadu : Yes! I use to make one with my grandfather in Simla when I was a kid like you.
Grandson: Great! It will snow soon .Then we both will make the biggest snowman in the whole wide world. Our snowman will be next to our snow covered Christmas tree.
But, Where is the SNOW??? It’s December – it should snow now. How will we make a snowman? My daughter needs to answer this.
Papa: Beta, there is no snow. It is not snowing. Why did we buy all that winter stuff? My old jackets would have been sufficient
Daughter: Papa, it will snow. Just wait and see. Tonight and tomorrows forecast says ‘Snow’. Please do not fuss!
Papa: Forecasts are not correct always. You will never understand – that feeling of watching snow fall from the window, walking in the snow, dusting it off from the jacket, holding flakes in the hand. It has been a big part of my childhood. Look at the sky. I know, it will not snow tomorrow.
Daughter: Good Night Papa!
Dadu, Dadu!! Get Up! It’s morning. See what I have got for you!
See Dadu! Look outside the window!
That first sight of SNOW in those tiny hands – a tear drop – two 5 years old running in SNOW!