Tuesday, 18 May 2010
There is no pleasing some people. Sweltering in the May heat here in Chennai, and sweating profusely, I long for the the cool climes with Samyukta in Newport, Jersey City, just across the river from New York where her parents work. And there in the winter, I longed for the warm (?) sunshine of Chennai
Though we have visited our family before, it has always been in the summer. This was the first time we were there in the winter. (Other winters I experienced were in Delhi which now seem comparatively mild, where I grew up, and in Manchester, UK where we spent a couple of years, comparable to the New York one).The cold was something terrible. Inside the building there was no discomfort, but stepping out made me miserable. Any exposed part would turn red and start itching. I would be well wrapped up, right up to my ears, but my cheeks and nose suffered.
We read of disrupted flights and stranded passengers, while we stayed warm and snug inside, thankful not to be out there. My son and daughter-in-law of course had to go to work, snow or not, and once Vandana even had to fly to Milwaukee overnight for a client meet. My husband wrapped himself up well from top to toe and trudged out as he did everyday, snow or not. I was content to stay home with Samyukta and admire it all from there.
But one day, we did drive out to the city to take in the sights. The ledges and crevices on the buildings were loaded with snow, while the denuded branches of trees bowed down with the snow. We saw the snow banked up on the pavements, and workers cleaning the roads. When we got out to walk to Saravana Bhavan for brunch (yes there is one there, too) we had to squelch our way through the snow. And then the snow was no longer white, but a slushy mess.
After one snowfall we had the most amazing view from the apartment. I got up in the middle of the night just to see the snow fall. It had however stopped snowing, but the terrace on the floor below us was covered in snow, so pristine and pure, and awash with a white light as though it was moonlit, that it looked surreal. I took this picture without using a flash....
Daytime saw some brave youngsters falling about in the snow and trying to make snowmen.
As I sit on our balcony here in the morning before it gets too hot, listening to all the birds – from the crow to the koel, sipping my filter coffee, I think about the apartment there, so warm and cosy, insulated from the cold snow outside, and so silent. No birds sang.