In slow mode

2:18 PM

Winter is the season I love the most here in India, Bangalore was the best with the months right after the monsoon getting cooler, to have us pleasantly shiver in our sweater in the mornings and evenings in December.
In Mumbai winter is a bit milder, and this year, December was still warm but pleasant, just at the beginning of this week did a cold wave hit us having me happily sleep in my sweatpants under the blanket and snuggle in my hoodie jacket stepping out of my bed early in the morning.
Most of my family and friends back home smile or laugh when I say it is cold and specify temps are in their 20’s (Celsius) or even dropped below that during the night. Temperatures are all relative, and having 15-20 degrees in Switzerland in December, would be considered hot, not cold. But then Mumbai has temperatures way above 30 most of the year and a level of humidity that can be suffocating at times, so for us, this drop in temperature is indeed cold. But the first sign of Winter in Mumbai is not so much about the change in temperature, but the change in humidity, September and October are the two months right after the monsoon, and the heat and humidity are unbearable, and suddenly in November you start feeling the change on your skin. Once icky sticky five minutes after stepping out of the shower, the skin starts to pull a little feeling dry, and by the start of December we are all slathering ourselves in lotion to keep moist enough and comfy in our skin.

Back in Switzerland I actually used to hate winter, it meant days getting shorter with people waking up before the sunrise to go to work and coming home long after the sunset feeling their whole 8 hours have been wasted inside while the sun shone bright, trees loosing all their colours, the piercing northern wind sending people right back home from their day to office. and the only redeeming quality of the season being the festive season, and the holiday break to head to the mountains in hope to get more sun that inevitably find it hard to make its way to the cities in the plains under a gloomy almost constant layer of cloud.
Comfort food there means warming your heart when all is frozen outside: steaming soups, warm fragrant cakes and pies, mugs of tea, mulled wine and hot chocolate, gratin and rich stews, comforting pasta dishes…And of course life in slow motion. Comes Winter back home people just want to stay home, cuddle with a good book, and just wait the time away until spring, the holiday season generally takes us out of our shell in a mayhem of formal parties, family gathering and by boxing day we are all at home surviving on leftovers which in my home meant smoked salmon on toasts and fake caviar, possibly with some leftover champagne and some roast meat from the main course, topped it up by a generous serving of Christmas chocolates and candies gifted to us over the course of December by friends, colleagues and relatives. A short lived coma until December 31st where we all come back from the dead or almost to party one last time this year and celebrate the new the next morning by sleeping in late, and possibly not leaving our jammies for the day to come in good company with yet more leftovers, a hangover and the vague remembrance of a resolution we just took a few hours ago but already too distant for us to really care about following through with it.  Most people take a few days off after New Years eve as many companies shut their door anyway matching the length of the school break to allow families to be together. The first week of January is generally spent in hibernation mode for most.

Here in Mumbai, people are the opposite, the minute the humidity drops and you will see more housewives and elderly people just venture out in the gardens and parks of their residential complexes to just enjoy the weather, come the evening and you have even more people out, active and happy, indulging in more jogging and walking than before.
But of course Winter is also a time to indulge in comfort food here too, pretty much like during the monsoon, fried stuff make a comeback, soups are becoming fashionable with certain stores declaring them a Winter essential at par with Vaseline lotion, Nivea cream and lip balms. The Christmas spirit is gripping India stronger with each passing years and with it the decoration, food and movies.
This year I spent the whole month of December enjoying dinners of cheese, soups, warm comforting bowl of pasta, chicken in gravies, and hot cup of tea, not because I needed the comfort inside to shield myself from the harsh cold outside, but because finally the temperature was cool enough to make me crave these and indulge, the comfort of the weather outside brought the comfort on my plate.
And for the first time this year I fell into leftover mode past Christmas, and the desire to just be home and enjoy the Winter’s cosiness. New year’s eve will come, and i don’t know what I’ll be doing, and frankly not sure I even care about it as much as the other years for I am in total bliss right now.
I know I’ll be at the airport on January 1st in the evening to pick up my mom who will be visiting for the first 2 weeks of the new year. I won’t be blogging much until the 15th. I’ll be taken out of my Winter slow mode then as I am sure Mumbai will get warm and then hot pretty soon.
I probably will make another post before the year, so I will hold my wishes for now.


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