22.1.14

'Tis the season

It's a strange thing, but I've only recently had cause to care about the seasons.

Growing up, I never really associated seasons with the weather.  I mean, it was Bombay - what seasons? You had the rains, and then the rest of the year just sort of merged into a flow of muggy and different-levels-of-warm months. Except for May, which was particularly dusty and sticky. Ok fine, and two weeks in Dec-Jan, which were purely an excuse for people to flaunt their woollens even though it was 17C. Apart from that, actual, defined seasons such as spring and autumn and winter were these fancy things you read about in books, or which happened to relatives in places far away.

What I did associate them with, was food. You knew 'summer' was around because mangoes appeared in the market and because you could get a bellyache every afternoon eating a whole watermelon (just so you could use its rind as a cool (geddit? geddit?) hat). You knew 'winter' was here because those nice red 'Dilli' carrots were in season, and because every Gujju household went into overdrive making undhiyo. Spring? Gotta be chikoos from Dahanu. Autumn? Strawberries from Panchgani.

So I looked at my plate, not the skies.

And then I moved to England. Where all I did was look at the skies.

Again though, given how random and arbitrary the climate is in the country, it's hard to associate seasons with the weather.  To me, the only noticeable difference in seasons are the daylight hours.  You know it's summer because once a month, the weather's nice enough for you to go for a picnic in the park at 8pm and believe it's afternoon.  Oh, and for a week or so at a stretch, you can even walk around without socks without having the heating on.  You know it's winter because you've turned into a hobbit and are eating two dinners - one at 6pm when your eyes tell you to, and one at 9pm when your stomach tells you to.  And because occasionally there's ice. But then that happens in March too.

So, no real difference in seasons.

But now, after having moved here, for the first time I've really started noticing - and reacting to - the difference in the weather as the seasons change. There's a proper cold months-long winter, with dark evenings and chilly nights, requiring hot soups and gloves and yearning looks at the sky.  Then there's a proper spring, full of days that are warm but not hot and nights that bring the flowers a-budding. And then there's a scorching summer, where all you do is pant and lie thanking the person who invented airconditioning. And an actual autumn, with leaves being shed and temperatures visibly cooling, and cocktails on balconies.

It's a bit ... unreal.  I keep finding myself unprepared for the changes, and realising that yes, summer clothes and winter clothes do need to be packed away and aired. I keep finding myself surprised by just how ... permanent each season is, and by how definitely it morphs into the next.  I find myself not peeking out and seeing what sort of day it is, because it's the same sort of day every day.

But, in a sort of reversal, you get all the fruits all through the year now (well, except mangoes). Sure, they're cheaper in the actual season they used to be available in, but you can still get them at any time of the year. When did this happen? Are these being grown artificially? Are they frozen stock? Are they being imported? Nobody knows, or if they do, they ain't telling. And so my year-fruit-clock has gone completely out of whack.

... I wonder what the next place I end up with will have in store.


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