Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This winter's going to be a rough one. And I don't need weathernetwork's long-term forecasts to know. It's not yet November and I've had to bring out the big guns - woollen socks, mufflers, toques, etc. I leave home all wrapped up, looking very teddy like (more bear, less roosevelt) and with all the dexterity of a deaf bat... So I really have to ask: Why do we put up with winter?

There was this one year when I collected signatures to petition the weatherman for a milder winter. It didn't work. I shoulda got more signatures.

But winter's just part of the seasonality. Four seasons, each very different from the other, changes things up when you're bored of the view outside. It gives me a sense of the passage of time*. In Bangalore, when each day felt just like the one before or the one after, I had to rely on the newspapers to know how far into the year we were. Here, in Toronto, the colour (or the absence) of leaves helps me find my bearings.

And it makes us appreciate each season that much more, knowing it's going to be a good while before similar conditions visit us again. I suspect this is why sunburns happen. When the sun comes out, I feel like a grad student at an expensive AYCE, stuffing myself silly because it's going to be a while before I can afford the extravagance again.

The other plus about winter is that you can resort to the evergreen conversation fallback - "Man, some weather, eh?" - without it seeming wholly unintelligent.

In Bangalore though, this'd be a little silly *any* time of year - "Wow, it's crazy out there, again in the 27-32 range, eh?"

*Update - Nov 2, 2008 - I wrapped this one up prematurely. I meant to hold forth on the nature of time, and how, even within the context of its inevitable march (day-night and the seasons themselves, i.e. rotation and revolution), there's concepts that we as a species append to it.

Because of our mortality, we feel the need to divide time into past, present and future. We use the concept of a calendar, where though the days and months continue to recycle themselves, we can't extend that luxury to the year. And that's a good thing. Imagine if our hypothetical immortal selves had decided on a binary year calendar, one that reset itself when four seasons passed. The concept of history would get addled..Our schools might have had to do away with the subject entirely..and in some part then, the concept of memory..then, that of nostalgia..and so, a large part of emotion.

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