Winter in Shitlakhet

Winter in Shitlakhet

From Delhi

This will probably be our first winter as residents in the area around Shitlakhet. In Delhi, we used to take winter for granted. Most of the time we weren’t appropriately dressed for the cold. We were always of the opinion that we would be mostly indoors. They ranged from the indoor home to the indoor car to the indoor office. Wherever we would be there would be heating or at least, cold doors. Moreover, our winter clothing was designed more for fashion than for utility.

It seems this winter will also be one of the worst in Delhi – what with all the pollution. Running in Delhi was always a problem in the Delhi winter with the late sunrise. But now it seems that the exercise is actually unhealthy while in Delhi. As we become more immune to the plight of nature – travelling in our pollution-emitting vehicles to our pollution-emitting offices – I hope this comes out as a rude awakening to us and goads us into evaluating our choices.

To Shitlakhet

Winters in Shitlakhet and the villages around are fresh and almost everyone acknowledges their importance. Winters are the time when glaciers have more snow leading to more water in the underground streams that supply the village and the region around. Winter is also a time to start sowing the wheat for a good summer crop. The winter sun is also extremely useful as the strong sun helps dry food better. The cold of the winter also helps preserve food longer.

However, steps have to be taken to ensure that one is fortified during the winter as well. This is the time you would see women carrying large dry bundles of grass to be used as animal feed during the cold. You will also see people covering the inside walls with a new layer of mud. The dried mud and cowdung mixture, along with parts of the Pine bark underneath, keep the walls at least 2 degrees warmer than ambient.

Winter is also the time of some very good food. Having Pulao with Sani hui Nimboo in the December sun while looking out at the white peaks, has to be one of life’s great experiences.


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