Day 14: Winter

I really really miss winter, even 16 years later.
On a desert island the weather has the presence of a diva. Sand storms whirl while you wait for the school bus, whipping your plaits across your face and the skirt around your legs. The sun becomes a lone light bulb. They don’t last for more than an hour and leave gold dust on cars. You come out to find a branch of bougainvillaea stuck on the door, and yellow fluffs retreating from the sky.
Winter advances more hopeful. The first slightly cool breeze brings a pause in conversation and a wistful smile. By the weekend, we’d be dusting out old jackets and see if they still fit. Last picnics to the beach were planned before they shifted to waterfronts. Later, we’d sleep in blanket sandwiches.
In school, we waited to not be the first to wear the hateful navy blue Mothercare cardigans. The wind sharp on our shins, unprotected by rolled down socks, we hugged our books and ran from buildings into buses. When we could endure it no longer, we wore thermals underneath the shirt-and-pinafore, stockings instead of socks, but left the cardi around our waists. The swimming pools closed down and PT classes switched to indoor sports.
On the one cold day that Mumbai has, I step out of my office and a truck mocks a breeze in my face. I’m standing on large grey squares just outside the Primary-Secondary, before the gentle slope that leads to the watchman’s cabin begins. The eucalyptus tree has begun to turn gold.

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