How winter has changed for me over the years
Growing up, December was the month I was always most excited for. And why wouldn't I be? Besides being my birthday month, December also marked the end of a seemingly never-ending academic year, and the much-anticipated beginning of winter.
But as I regrettably approach adulthood, I can't help but think that my relationship with winter has changed tenfold.
For the entirety of my childhood, I lived in a housing quarter that was always teeming with kids my age. Whenever winter approached, our days would be filled with insurmountable joy for a myriad of reasons. The best part was that studying became a foreign concept for an entire month. At the same time, our parents weren't as strict as they usually were with our daily routines either.
As such, playing chor-police and badminton throughout the day was a long-standing tradition that we wouldn't miss for the world. Amidst the cool winter breeze and plethora of games at our disposal, time seemed to stand still for all of us.
Another significant highlight of winter came in the form of my grandmother's handmade pithas. Seeing her and my mother work in tandem to make intricate designs and delicious treats always inspired us siblings to try and contribute in whatever way we could. The experience was always therapeutic, to say the least.
The winter experience started shifting somewhat as I grew older and faced board examinations as a national curriculum student.
Studying during the year-end break became more of a common practice, because staying on top of the upcoming workload was the recommended course of action. This ultimately translated to less time allocated for playing games and having fun. Even still, regularly playing badminton and organising friendly tournaments was a must, and those were times that I cherish to this day.
Fast forward to the present – I don't feel as excited as I did about winter when I was younger.
Hardly any of the traditions we used to follow are present now. Owing to everyone's busy schedules, playing badminton together regularly feels like a privilege now. The fact that our childhood friends have all moved to different places and institutions makes it even harder to spend time together.
At the same time, my grandmother isn't as physically fit as she was five or ten years ago. This means that the pitha culture isn't as seasonally pronounced now, seeing that our most skilled crafter isn't healthy enough to bear the physical toll.
While I cannot say for sure that this shift is the same for everyone, the number of social media posts associating winter with depression and desolation does point towards that direction. It seems that, for many, winter blues have cemented their place in the tail-end of the calendar.
However, on the bright side, even though winter has changed, it has also evolved in some ways. While I cannot hope for the childhood experiences I took for granted to come back, I can look ahead to all the new traditions that await. From taking a stroll in the evening to regrouping with friends over a cup of warm tea, new experiences have already claimed their space in my day-to-day life, with many more sure to follow.
Ayaan immerses himself in dinosaur comics and poorly-written manga. Recommend your least favourite reads at [email protected]