Don’t blame you for wondering whether we have dropped off the face of the earth. We figure that since Mom keeps calling us with nicknames to do with polar bears, foxes and wolves, some of the wild instincts have rubbed off on us. We decided to hibernate.
We are pooches enough to keep an eye on things even while asleep. So, we did observe some winter humans:
The same humans who rail against the sun till October suddenly pray for it to peep out from behind clouds, fog, or smog, as the case may be. Sunshine is a cause for celebration and chairs, rugs, durries are pulled out for some basking. These keep shifting as the sun’s rays move, until there is a higgledy-piggledy stack of assorted seating in the one tiny corner of the outdoors that still has sun at 4 p.m. It is a little annoying at first that just as you have found a comfortable spot and pose, there is a mini earthquake of scraping chairs and shifting to disturb you. You soon learn though how to recognise the precise moment and intensity of sun on the tip of your tail or tongue that is the cue to move. A word of caution: it appears direct sun on the face or the head can cause discomfort, so the trick is to find an angle at which the sun is on the back and the legs. Boy, do you learn the art of the contortionist then!
Daily routine shifts to these sunny areas: morning tea, newspapers, breakfast, lunch, oiling hair before a shampoo. The apartment balconies become regular camp sites. The first few days, we’d hear the word “khaana” and rush to the dining room where all civilised souls are supposed to eat in their designated corners. Imagine our confusion to find no bowls neatly placed on mats on the floor. With noses and ears in different directions, the former sniffing around the room and the latter going wild hearing more calls of “khaana” from a different direction, we went from confusion to bewilderment. Until we learnt that “khaana” now was bowls out in the 🌞. We quite enjoy our picnic lunches. Somehow, the sun shining as you chomp makes the whole experience more heartwarming, if not back-warming.
There is a never ending supply of oranges and peanuts to be peeled and shelled with the most annoying restraint against our chewing the discarded shells. I think humans as usual are a confused lot, this time about peels and shells: humans probably cannot distinguish between the wrinkly-nose type obnoxiously sour orange peels that we do not want any way and the crunchy chewable peanut shells that we do. So they forbid all shells and peels 😕 . There is the constant stream of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, kehwa … if there is no accounting for our sense of humour (refer above – ‘back-warming’), there is no accounting for the human palate either.
In the absence of the sun, there are the heaters and quilts and warm, woolly shoes and socks. We love to hog one, pat another down to crawl into, and run off with the third to quiet corners to unravel and chew. Dad, Mom and Big Sis are so layered in heaven knows what that finding a spot to lick is near impossible. Affection in winter is thus reduced to nestling in the warm crook of an arm or lap – or huddling on their beds in their blankets. Probably Big Bro is equally covered because Mom and Dad often talk about something called snow in the weather reports and wonder how their six-foot baby is holding out against it 🙄.
Conversation veers to admiration of plants and flowers, most of which we are seeing for the first time. All very well, except why winter games on bare ground? What is the point of flowers if you cannot run between them, trample them, roll on them, butt them or bite them off? Surely flowers are not meant just to be seen and praised!
Living through a North Indian winter, despite chills and morning fog / smog that turns your morning walk into a ‘how sharp is your vision’ test, is an experience you can lose yourself in. That is how we turned into Rip Van Winkles. With the winter on its way out, after the most amazing treats on Christmas and scary roaring flames of the ‘Lorhi’ bonfire, we have now woken up to the human world in (yet another) tizzy – something to do with board exams and exam fever that has afflicted multitudes. But more on that later…