Celebrate the chill

8:00 AM

Winter in Mumbai is something to celebrate. To savour and enjoy with abandon. Because, of all the seasons we have, this is the only one truly enjoyable. It is also the shortest of all. One that could feel like an anomaly in our otherwise hot and humid hell, or wet and cool fungi growing intermission.

Once a year, for two or three months (if we stretch it), we get to experience not sweating bucket, feeling suffocated by our own skin, or peeling soaked wet textile items off said skin.

I know those of you living in North India will laugh at our idea of what feels cold, but yes anything below 20 degrees with a mere 30% humidity qualifies as such.
We love the seasonal change, we love the chill, and we celebrate it by wearing warmer, comfy clothes and getting outdoors more.

Here are my Mumbai Winter favourites :

enjoying the winter means not letting mismatched socks get in the way.

Wearing socks.
Ah! The little things! The joy of no longer being barefooted and for once in the year letting them take the dirt while roaming inside my flat. As you can see, them matching is not even a prerequisite. I can guarantee you I didn't slip these just for the photo-op. I ran out of matching socks between two laundry loads and these were all I had to keep my tootsie warm (it was 19 degrees...don't judge!).

Tea, and more tea.
All. Day. Long.
I am a tea lover, I need to start my day with a cuppa. Green or black without milk or sugar in the day time, and a fruit infusion before bedtime (a typically Swiss habit, we drink something warm and herbal before bed).
In the Summer, I really keep my intake to the strict minimum to function...a cup a day, even bypassing the night cap. Comes the monsoon or Winter and I drink several cups of warm fluids a day. Not all caffeinated of course.

nothing like a thick creamy soup to celebrate Winter

Soup time.
In the cold months, I can call a steaming bowl of soup and buttered toasted bread dinner several times a week. I make my own most of the time, because they taste better, are healthier, and are ridiculously easy to make. But, I am not against using a ready made instant soup mix from time to time, especially if I decide to call one a mid morning, or mid afternoon snack (yes, perfectly!).

No more fans.
The blissful sound of silence!
I usually spend the first few days of fan less bliss just enjoying the absence of that whoosh whoosh sound. Plus I can read the paper, or do paper craft projects without anything flying around.

Outdoor and loving it.
3 months of not sweating bullets, soaking your underwear and discovering you can actually sweat inside your ears and in your butt crack!
Can I say bliss? Do I need to say more? No really, it is THREE months of not pondering wether going out to buy bread mid day is a necessity worth melting to a puddle five minute into the expedition.
A solid 90 days in the year during which the elements are not all out to dehydrate us or drown us. A trimester of not feeling icky, sticky and plain old gross after just going out to buy some milk. Let's celebrate!

Bake and cook.
While cooking is a necessity year round, the Winter months are the ones I truly enjoy doing it the most. I can spend hours in the kitchen without liquefying and turning into a blob. And have a newfound energy to actually try some of these recipe I keep pinning on Pinterest.

Cats are masters at relaxing and making the best of a confortably chilly day. Learn from them an immitate at will.

Feeling cosy.
If you need any sort of inspiration, look at my cat. She has mastered the art of celebrating Winter by sleeping the days away.
If sleeping the whole day is impractical (which I am sure is). Do like me and just enjoy wearing comfy sweats and wrapping yourself in a warm shawl while reading a good book or watching a movie at the end of the day...it works too.

And to really honour the season, you are therefore prohibited to even contemplate wearing anything short, or thin, or even both. I heard light cotton kurti have that need to hibernate anyway.

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  1. Anonymous4:26 PM

    It was a freaky new year eve this year. It started raining on 31st and continued to rain for four days. I have never seen rains in January right at the beginning. God is making up for less rain in monsoon perhaps. Fog and chill has come back with a vengeance.

    About winter, it also that time of the year when people want to go out and eat. Another is the range of clothes that you can wear, coats, sweaters, jackets, mufflers just mixing and matching. Food is another great advantage of the chill. Peanuts, jaggery, oranges, soups. This is also the time when non veg food can be relished. BTW have you eaten boiled egg with chopped onions and coriander chutney/bread omelette from a roadside stall?? It tastes amazing in winters.



    We also have something called moong dal pakodas or ram ladu served with grated radish and coriander chutney.


    Winters are also the time when there is a danger of putting up weight. How to you manage to control your calories given your problem. It must be hard to resist eating in chilly weather.


    1. That is the great thing about Winter in Mumbai, it is so pleasant even in the early hours of the morning that I can walk even more, and my great enemy are carbohydrates and sugars, things like soup or meaty treat are something my body process much better. A homemade vegetable soup is high in fiber, and low in both carb and fat, it makes for a very filling meal that is friendly to the waistline.
      But yes, my secret weapon to manage insulin resistance is to walk, walk, walk, and keep off my feet often. I need to force myself to do so in the Summer, but I still make the effort to walk at least 4 kilometres a day.

    2. Anonymous5:32 PM

      The pleasant winter that you are talking about is called "Gulabi Thandhak" (literal translation Pink Chill) in Hindi. It comes sometimes late February and early March right about the time of Holi. This is short spring time between winter and summer. Flowers bloom and there is fragrance in the air.

      Unfortunately it is also the time for final exams in schools. Nobody has any time to enjoy the weather. I have always marveled at the irony of the situation. When nature is at full bloom, no one has the time to enjoy it. The transition from winters to summers is less traumatic than from summer to winters. Usually when the weather becomes colder, all kinds of allergies, flues and seasonal fever become rampant.

      Interestingly, there is a flower show in Mughal Gardens which is located in Rashtrapati Bhawan (President's House), in Delhi during February every year, which is visited many visitors .


      One of the major attractions of January is Republic Day parade. Part of childhood memory of every Indian:


      Or the graceful and musical beating retreat ceremony:


      Or the heavenly lighting of the government buildings at night:


      A few privileges of Delhites, I guess.


  2. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Winter is my favorite season. Hyd has very less humidity all year round compared to other metros. The weather is greatly similar to that if Delhi's though Hyd is way less polluted and a lot cleaner.The cold actually bites here enough to make us bleed. Unless we use a lot of lotions and creams our skin can get easily ruined. This week minimum here is 12 C. Brrr. And I really don't envy the ppl living in Delhi.

    1. I have a dry sensitive skin, cold does murder to it, in Switzerland I would get cold rashes on my face and little bumps that looked like blisters from time to time on my hands mostly.
      I need a very thick face cream and lotion even in Mumbai. In January and February, the Mercury can dip to about 12-14 degrees in Mumbai, the last few years we even had mornings at 10 degrees, though this year is still warm, so far the temps haven't dipped below 18 yet. It can still come though.
      Bangalore was also much dryer year round than Mumbai, and I remember chilly December nights wearing a woolen sweater outside at night. It never failed, on December 31st we always started feeling really cold around 10pm on our terrace and would put on an extra layer to wait until midnight to watch the fireworks.

  3. We just returned back from Hyderabad and the weather was absolutely perfect!

    1. Yes November and December are pleasant months all accross India usually. The temperature in the South usually start dipping December end and January. Right now Mumbai usually gets as cold as its go a get, this year though it is a bit warmer than the previous years.


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