Winter is the best season in my opinion. Mainly because it does not involve sweating all the time, checking to see if the fan is on at full speed, and trying to find cold water in the fridge. But also, it brings the month of December.
December is a magical month for me. It is not only because it brings my birthday and marriage anniversary (for the past three years), but also because of so many other things. The white fog gives a mysterious tinge to the environment, especially around water bodies such as Hatirjheel. The green lights which are present every few steps in Hatirjheel only add to that mystery.
Every area in Dhaka has at least a few houses decorated festively with streamers of twinkling lights as marriage ceremonies are held. I love looking at those blinking little lights which can transform even the dullest places into something charming and beautiful.
Most of the lamp posts on main streets are adorned with red and green lights to celebrate Bangladesh's Victory Day. The stillness of a wintry day is punctuated with air-force planes shooting past overhead, practicing for the victory day parade. The shops are decorated festively to celebrate Victory Day, Christmas, and the new year.
Every area has a certain street corner where people gather by the dozens to have piping hot pithas. My preference is chitoi pitha with shutki bhorta. In warm weather, I do not think I would look twice at the hot pithas but in winter, the heat emanating from the stove and the smoke rising from the hot pithas are what gather dozens of people in those places.
Winter is also a wedding season. Driving around the city, one cannot fail to see the brightly dressed people going to a wedding or the occasional "bor er gari" adorned with beautiful flowers, signifying the new couple's special journey from wedding venue to their new home. The wedding kacchi biriyani is something that people miss most, especially if they live abroad. Because this kacchi biriyani can only be found at weddings. Lots of restaurants in Dhaka offer an item called "biye barir kacchi'' on their menu, which has quickly become popular.
Covid-19 has pretty much ruined this month for me. It has ruined the entire year of 2020 where we had so many plans, but this December hits the hardest for me. Being stuck in the house day after day leaves little room to enjoy the foggy weather, see people walking in the streets huddled under their jackets and scarves, and see those pithawalas on the streets.
I cannot even go out to enjoy those bright twinkling lights and cannot honestly say if they have decreased somewhat this winter compared to previous winters due to that horrible virus. A few days ago, I was on my way back from my parents' house. It was night-time and I managed to catch a glimpse of a house in Gulshan beautifully decorated with those lights. I asked the driver to stop the car (forgetting there was a huge line of cars behind us) so that I could enjoy it. The honking of cars behind us somewhat dimmed that enjoyment, but at least I got to see them at least once this winter!
Winter is the time for gaada ful. Those brilliantly colourful flowers can brighten up any place. Dhaka city is decorated with those flowers in winter and is so very eye-catching and it is difficult to tear your eyes away from them. Both my mother and mother-in-law love to buy little plants of those gaada ful when winter comes and decorate their verandas with them.
However, there are some aspects of winter that Covid-19 cannot take away from us. Sipping a cup of hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate from an equally hot mug warms the hands and the insides. Taking out the fuzzy winter slippers and wearing them around the house (even in bed sometimes) to keep the feet toasty warm.
Even the winter fruits and vegetables are amazing. The delicious aroma of cauliflowers frying in the house can make anyone's mouth water. My husband, who would happily renounce vegetables for the rest of his life, cannot deny the awesome taste of those fried cauliflowers. The season's first sheem is something my father always craves and can have them for days on end.
There is also the fact that there are so many more choices of vegetables in winter than in the summer. The tasty and juicy oranges of winter are also something to look forward to. I feel that one of the only things missing in winter is mangos. In countries like Thailand, mangos are available all year round. However, those mangos cannot hold a candle to our deshi mangos. One of my favourite things to do on winter nights is to go have some maltova chai at Cha Chai. As it is an outdoor place, maybe it will be safe enough to go there this winter.
One advantage of Covid-19 in winter that I can think of is that the masks help to cover our mouths and noses to protect them from the cold air. It is a sad advantage, but the point is to see the silver lining, right?
Immita Manal Amena is a senior analyst.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard