For starters, it is not yet killing you. You may be reading this, shivering quietly, your fingers about to figuratively snap off as you hold this paper (more likely a phone). But it hasn't killed you yet. Some of you may even be wondering what this winter is all about. Right now it is not even below 20 degrees. We set our ACs at a level below that and ask, "Is the AC working alright?" Yet, some people give hints that winter really is here.
Have the cows died in vain?
At the first sign of a chill breeze, the leather jackets try to come out. These have been in storage since MacGyver stopped airing in the 90s. Every year the owners hope that it will get cold enough to justify wearing something the cow sincerely misses. All the cool kids want to wear it. Remember the Terminator? He was an unstoppable killer robot right until he lost his leather jacket. Unfortunately, a mouldy leather jacket will roast you in our mild winter as you sip overpriced coffee at an Instagram friendly cafe.
Love the smell of BBQ in the night
You cannot sit in a crowded bus without hearing young voices excitedly discussing buying coal. How about the office urinal hoping for some 90 seconds of tinkling peace? Someone in the next stall is urgently whispering the three magic letters: B-B-Q. You hear the plans, you know winter is here. You know hot cooked chicken and a crackling fire will warm your old soul.
Overly anxious skull caps and shawls
It's the leather jacket phenomenon but exuding a more culturally hip aspect. It's also more budget friendly and can have multiple uses. Worst case situation, a skull cap (or hat) can become a pouch for carrying very important things like peanuts. A shawl is like the Bangladeshi version of the towel in the Hitchhiker's "Guide to the Galaxy". You can use it for anything in any situation. Keep yourself warm, knot into a rucksack and carry your books/stolen goods, loop over an overhanging bar and create a swing for little children and kittens. The options are endless.
Which states the obvious: all of us reading this can adequately keep ourselves warm. For all of us, we don't even need all this to keep ourselves warm. It never really gets cold inside our homes. Lucky, because we have homes.
Not everyone has a home. It is heartbreaking to walk along the roads late at night and see homeless old people and children improvising to fight the chill. Laying down plastic advertising banners that they managed to pull down isn't great protection from the rising cold of the concrete. They make temporary homes for the night, wrapped up in tattered old blankets, lying on a two-feet-wide barrier on a bridge. This is no way to survive and we have much more than we need.
Here's a simpler, easier, much more rewarding way to survive the winter. We all have old clothes we don't really need. I found old blankets, curtains, bedsheets that everyone can happily do without. I gave away a velvet car seat cover once to a guy who couldn't seem to believe his luck at how warm it was.
Carry all this with you in your car or simply when you go out for a rickshaw ride. And stop. Carry some food on you and give it away. Dry food is especially beneficial for them to carry around the next day. My seven-year-old comes out with me carrying a packet of food for street dogs. Everybody needs help. Better yet, contact animal foundations like Care For Paws and Obhoyaranno to ask if they are doing a neutering drive. Donate, help the dogs stop from giving birth to puppies that cannot survive.
These acts of humanity never need to be big. You do not have to save everyone, just help out the few within reach. It is unbelievable how easy it is. These are little things we can do that warm our hearts better than a silly leather jacket ever will.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.