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A snowfall of childhood memories

By Faiza Mir

So it snowed. At last! And way too much, of course.
By the time you read this, the snow will probably have melted, the sun may be shining and you may even have de-layered the clothes you’ve been bundled into for weeks.
But for those who love winter and snow, all of that will be lamented. In my case, what I love about snow has everything to do with memory — the past, not the present. It’s that time of the year where you can relive your childhood memories, build a snowman and have a snowball fight. Ask anyone over 25, and they’ll tell you that snow, like so many other things, was better way back when. Ah, the golden days, when life was innocent and families were close.
At our house, it meant that my father, who never missed a day in his Doordarshan office in Srinagar for a cold, or even the flu, might just kick back and stay at home that day. The smell of one-sided toast with melted butter – it was always done on just one side under the electric heater, crisp and melty. Tea for the grown-ups, milk for us. My mother always made sure that we were all warmly wrapped up with our hats, scarfs and mitts and our big rubber boots. The next hours were filled with fun in the sunshine and snow! We would stop to make snowmen and decorate them with buttons and put in a couple of stones for eyes and a carrot for a long nose. In my dreams he would be my friend and play with me. We would fly all over the town high above the clouds, across the Jhelum over hills and houses. I can’t tell you how fun that was. The kind of fun where you can’t smile enough, laugh enough, and expend a lot of energy just running back up that hill.
The beauty of icicles brings memories of my childhood ever so close. Looking out the window while they formed, measuring to see how big they grew, and licking icicle popsicles are precious recollections.
Landlines were the only mode of communication and that too only a few houses had phone connection those days. I clearly remember the days we got no electricity. The light was provided by sunlight by day and by kerosene oil lamps at night and the heat was provided by a gas-burning stove in the living room. I even do recall candles being used in our house but during snowy or icy weather when there was no sign of electricity for almost a week.
I also remember asking my grandfather, “Abba, who makes it snow?” To which he replied “Who cares for us here below”.
Has this winter season got you thinking about wonderful times and memories past?” Sometimes I long for these moments again. But sadly I have grown up and these memories have faded, but I still get excited about the snow for it holds special memories for me as a child.
Snow is created for the senses; it’s created for the bliss of an exploring child. And for a lot of folks it has this figurative sense as well: forgiveness and a life cleansed from impurity.
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