A snowy winter is a way of life for many. But for someone like me, who has lived all her life in a tropical country (India), snow can pretty much be a bucket list item. My first brush with snow happened last week, on a trip to Switzerland. I enjoyed a lovely train ride from Zermatt to reach up to Gornergrat. From this peak, I was told, I could afford stark views of the steep Matterhorn.
I was looking forward to feel snow on my hands since childhood, and finally, my dream came true. The train chugged higher from Zermatt, and I could see snow around in bits, and gradually, it was a vast carpet. I was so excited by this point, that I was having trouble deciding which side of the train I should look out from, frequently running over to the other side, to see more snow. Sounds silly, I know, but if you’ve waited 25 years of your life for an experience, it can be pretty overwhelming when it actually happens.
I step on snow as I get off the train. I’m told to be careful, as the ice can be slippery. I’m glad I’m wearing my Wellingdons as they offer a sturdy sole and some friction. I walk along, hugging my jacket tighter, taking small steps, mindful of the ice that I tread on. And then in a few steps, ice makes way for snow! I put my foot ahead on soft, soft white fluff and it sinks in a bit to make an impression. I go ahead a few more steps, a smile on my face, my feet digging deeper. And then I look around myself, and all I see is more and more snow and I turn into a child on expresso.
I run, fall and jump about and make snowballs and throw them on my friends. And then I walk further towards the valley where there are no foot marks, and slide my hand in, to come up with a pristine fluff of white sitting on my palm.
I had fallen in love with crushed ice at a young age, when kids used to buy ‘gola’ from a street vendor. A gola is a clump of crushed ice on a stick, doused in flavoured syrup. Something similar to the ‘kachang’ in Singapore.
I pressed my palm shut and the snow hardened a bit. I put it in my mouth, closed my eyes and waited for it to dissolve. My hands were trembling due to cold but when I put the snow in my mouth, it just felt warm. And familiar. And nice.
So, Leh’s been cropping up a lot recently on the blogs I read, triggering the ‘me too’ syndrome. Here are my two paise on the enchanting roads from old Manali to Leh.
Leh, the travails…
Leh, the treasures!
The breeze will play with your hair at all windy places. But when it does in Leh, rest assured you have discovered your most favourite place on earth.