Chasing The Sun…!

 


We literally chase the sun for the warmth of its sunlight during the winter season, particularly in the northern, eastern and north eastern regions of India. In most places of the western and southern regions real winter has always been rare. Of course, in some years there are days in the months of December and January when we get the chill, and the question of considering this as real winter depends from which region you come from: for the people of the wintry regions we just mentioned don’t consider such weather as winter, but only as pleasant; however, the local people welcome the ‘winter’ heartily, drying up their woolens and wearing their sweaters, jackets, mufflers and shawls outside even if after some time the sweat forms inside. On such days we realize the importance of having flats that allow a lot of sunlight. This season in Mumbai we are having such pleasant or cold days following the cold waves in the north and we loving the morning sunlight filtering through the windows and balconies. Although for a short while, we are enjoying the warmth lounging on chairs chasing the sunlight; this is apart from the homemakers who always chase the sun throughout the day for drying up the daily clothes burden, continuously adjusting the positions on the hangers as per the sun’s movements.

 


In my native stand-alone home (no longer existing) in Guwahati, Assam we were lucky to have a green grassy campus, and during the months of biting winter at least two chairs were always placed in the green courtyard for our grandparents. They used to lounge on those chairs immediately after an early breakfast, constantly adjusting their chairs as per the position of the sun. As and when the burning sunlight became too much they used to turn their chairs to have their backs bask in the sunlight. During my home visits during winter a third chair was invariably placed where I used to sit and chat with the others, almost devouring the warmth like a long-deprived person. Valuable add-ons were the steaming cups of tea, the newspapers and book-reading.

 

After lunch we used to come out again enjoying the sunlight till it turned fading. Cloudy mornings were extremely unwelcome, and rainy days were very depressing. On such days we had to burn the charcoal that I used to buy from the weekly market for my grandmother during the daytime too. The other members of the family used to wrap themselves up with the warmest of shawls apart from their sweaters and slump down into the sofas or chairs or beds available. This wintry habit of mine continued long after my grandparents left for their heavenly abodes, and at times I invited ire from my mother and my wife for my omnipresent basking-chair outside and ignoring other domestic duties. The dusk was the coldest time on the rainy winter days and the bonfires or the firewood or the charcoal fires used to be lit up well in advance.    

 


During my two-year stay in Shillong, one of the coldest hilly cities and tourist spots of the north eastern region where winter prevails throughout the year, chasing the sun had been a desperate venture, particularly during the sub-zero months of December and January. This is more for the reason that the sunlight there is always a precious occurrence with the ever-present clouds covering up the sun on most mornings and the freezing rains following very often. Therefore, whenever we had the luck of a bright morning sun we literally used to chase it throughout the day adjusting ourselves in all possible positions. Reclined in a chair near the window with the sweet warmth of the filtering sunlight along with a hot steaming cup of tea had been an experience I’ll never forget. And of course, my wife used to make hundreds of trips climbing the stairs up to the terrace to dry up the daily clothes burden. Then, there were the howling winds, the thunder showers and hailstorms.

 

I find the winter season very enjoyable, because it gives more energy and you have no problem of shedding your clothes to ward off the oppressive heat during the summer, and instead can wear as many layers of clothing as you need. I think most other people do enjoy too. No wonder, tourists flock on to the colder places, particularly during the snowing season, even ignoring the pandemic threats. We do find in most offices the staffers basking out in the sunlight in the green lawns or on the pavements with tea stalls during their leisure hours. We hope Mumbai give us more such pleasant or cold days this season so that people enjoy stay-home much more than unnecessarily going out with the continuing rain of new daily infections.

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