Nonsensical and sometimes not-so-nonsensical rants about what may or may not be going through my head. Try to liberalize your canvas of interpretation when reading these posts - you will go far...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tis the season

We experienced a late winter in Karachi this year. Just when I had given up on the prospect of nippy weather, I woke up one day and there was a certain air about Karachi. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but my city was beaming. In the time that followed, the mornings were draped with a thin layer of fog, and the evenings shrouded in a slight chill. Winter was here and just like that, life was perfect.

In Karachi, you know exactly when winter has arrived - the moment when your lips become chapped and your hair feels static.  My litany of Karachi winter characteristics runs along the lines of: dry skin; the silence of no fans and no air conditioners; thick, fluffy socks and shawls; Vaseline; peanuts roasted in their shells and bought by the pao in newspaper bags; nivea; random (and frequent) beach plans; oranges; hibiscus flowers; bonanza ads on TV; bonfires; hot chocolate; nihari; cream of tomato soup; hoodies; Christmas trees; countless cups of chai and coffee; lip balms; moisturizers; quilts; comforters; warm, cozy beds; laziness. But really, as Kamila Shamsie so aptly articulated in ‘Kartography’, “For Karachi high society, winter is all about envelopes. Or rather, about the invitations inside those envelopes”

Come November and the invites start pouring in. They appear in ones and twos and soon you have enough wedding cards to start your own business. Though we don’t get the snow most northern regions get, winters in Karachi have a life of its own. The weather isn’t all that cold, but its cold enough for us to enjoy our ice creams, walks in the evening, and eating outdoors. Nobody asks for the AC remote, or reaches for the fan switch, save for a few hardened individuals who still love their fans and ACs even as the mercury drops. We are entertained by the ever cheesy Bonanza ads for sweaters on TV, and bonfires at the beach take special precedence in our weekend plans.

Winters in Karachi also bring with it many unwanted guests. Dryness on our skin increases in some as we reach for the chapsticks even more so. The dew in the morning permeates over our cars quickly becoming the bane of drivers/cleaners. There is also increasing susceptibility to flu and other diseases. But cons aside, winter in Karachi has its special place. People still flock to the sea, amid high winds and even higher gatherings. We admire ourselves in our brightly colored sweaters and hoodies, pointing and laughing at scooter drivers wearing funny hats and completely unnecessary earmuffs, and nuzzle within our own blankets as we ever so desperately try to break its embrace in the morning–and fail miserably.

In other news, the New Year is less than 42 hours away. As per tradition, I’ve been drafting this year’s resolutions in my head, attempting and struggling to start 2012 without encumbrances and bad memories of the past year.  In retrospect, the last 365 odd days of my life have added some much needed rebellion in me; I have met some wonderful, wonderful people and had some really fun times. Rest assured, I have also had my (more than) fair share of not-so-fun times but I have learnt (albeit later than I should have) that such is life.  C'est la vie. Here’s to a new year; a clean slate; a fresh start. Here’s to the beginning of the end. Or the end of the beginning.

*Refer to last year's post on New Year's.