By Sarah Pervez
It’s that time of the year again! The magical time when the city of Karachi comes alive and starts welcoming the much awaited and anticipated winter season. As soon as November starts and the nip in the early morning air makes its presence felt, you know the long tedious summer days are over and in the famous words of Jon Snow, “Winter is coming.”
The hustle and bustle of the month of December is endless. Wedding invites start pouring in and friends & family from abroad start flying in. As your social calendar fills up, you look forward to huddling up under the blanket and savouring chill winter evenings with kashmiri chais and moong phallis.
You have to give it to Karachiites for their dogged determination though. The winter season may come fleetingly and the rest of the country might not even acknowledge the fact that we get it; but we are always ready to immerse ourselves in it fully.
The streets are full of vendors selling their precious wares of dry fruit and nuts. You pass by and try to decide whether one really needs food on the table or should you live on the edge and buy some chilghozay. Afterwards you stop to have some frothy espresso coffee from the road side stalls outside Kaybees. Or enjoy the process at home by whipping those coffee granules and sugar by hand post dinner. Even better, you go to Espresso and check in on Facebook to grab a cookie along with a hot drink.
Mornings are filled with snoozing that darn alarm button so that you can snuggle in your warm blanket for 5 more minutes. The kitchen table is covered by a kaleidoscopic display of crimson carrots and bunches of fresh green spinach,sunny mosambis and sunset-y kinoos. Wherever you go,you are welcomed by gajar ke halway topped with slivered almonds and pistachios like glinting gemstones scattered all around. The food at home may look like an array of all colours of the rainbow but we all look more forward to the mouth-watering delights awaiting us at weddings. It all begins with scheduling dance practices with the military precision of a drill sergeant to make sure none overlap. Then come the qawwali and musical nights where everyone enjoys some tunes and quiet chit chat over steaming bowls of soup. After dancing your heart out at dholkis and mehndis you salivate over Kebab Parathas and Halwas. The gossips at Baraat over countless cups of kashmiri chais are an essential part of our winter festival. Coming back home and discussing which BBQ and fried fish was the best of the season is no less important. My favourite bit is wrapping myself in soft pastel
pashminas at brunches and basking in the weak morning light. Flaunting that dark lipstick and jewelled toned suits in velvet and shawls in jamawaar for evening events is like a cherry on top.
The winter season may be busy and seem to fly by, but the days are short enough and the nights are long enough for us to linger over cups of hot beverages, enjoying the company of out of town family & friends, our homes lit up with laughter and conversations. The outside might be cold but our hearts are filled with warmth and celebration of everything that is quintessentially winter. We treasure being cocooned up in our winter gear which means one sweater or a pashmina or both if it is REALLY cold, uncertain on whether to switch the fan on or not, munching on salted almonds and roasted cashew nuts, asking, I mean begging someone to peel chilghozay for us, rubbing vaseline on our chapped lips and dry hands & heels, pulling on socks, curling up with a good book, a cup of tea and a throw over our legs in the afternoon, soaking up the evening air heavy with heady scents of tuberose and motia and making late night plans for chai parathas are just some of the things we love and look forward to for a Karachi winter. It doesn’t matter how busy it gets, the simple things are still the most pleasurable.
It also doesn’t matter if it lasts for 2 months, 3 or a measly 2 weeks; we are and will always be ready for any sort of cold winds that Quetta deems fit to send our way as a way of charity. So get ready Karachiites, it is about to begin; and to the upcoming whirlwinds of the season- bring it on!
How to stay safe from the winter bugs:
This season as loved as it may be, also brings with it various ailments like cold & flu. Here we have a list of things that will help keep you safe and healthy and enjoy the season to the fullest.
1. Get proper sleep.
2. Don’t forget to take your multivitamins and Zinc.
3. Be active. Moderate exercises sitches on your immune response and helps send “natural killer cells” to fight off rhinovirus. Beware though, strenuous workout can make you vulnerable.
4. Prevent or cure any colds you may get with this yummy concoction. Steep lemon rinds, grated ginger root and crushed garlic in boiling water. Add lemon juice, strain and mix in honey. Drink up.
5. Include fish in your diet which is rich in omega-3.
6. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to provide your body with much needed antioxidants.
7. Stay warm. Wrap yourself up in pretty shawls and wear socks.
8. Take vitamin C every day. Juice up a few kinoos for breakfast.
9. Have soups or broths to keep warm.
10. Take up yoga or meditation and reduce your stress levels. Viruses love stress.