The Januarys are cold and crisp in Nepal, especially in the capital, where the mornings are greeted with fog and mist, and we can see our breath when we look out the window into the city. A perfect time to snuggle in the warm duvets with hot coffee (or tea or chocolate!) with a book. The people hurry about the streets with woolen caps and mufflers, thick socks on the feet and the children have red cherry cheeks from the cold. The trees are on the verge of shedding their leaves and the vision of one in the early morning mist is aesthetically pleasing. The city never stops or halts though, everything keeps on moving albeit in a slower speed. The schools for the children close off for the winter holidays after their exams and they scour the streets on bikes gliding through the cold air, piercing the wind with laughs and merry-making because the winter holidays are finally here! The water is cold; the wives at homes do not want to do the laundry because the water chills their hands. It’s a time for hot momo (although, to be honest, all the time is momo time!); too many warm coffee breaks at work and buying small glasses of tea from the vendors while we rush about the day.
The evenings are ethereal, with the lights looking like heavenly stars, shimmering at a distance, coursing the veil of the gossamer fog that engulfs the city. The stars come out; the clouds do not dot the sky in winters, although occasionally, light rain graces the city, sounding ever so beautiful against the window pane. Blankets are cozy and the toasts are warm, the lights blink on like fireflies. Cats snuggle against our feet; dogs feel warm when we pet them. The sun sinks behind the hills, as the city welcomes twilight. It gets dark pretty fast, so the little kids must hurry home- for their mothers worry!
The nights are beautiful, the city is quiet and everything seems like its holding its breath. The vespertine insects come alive then; the air is filled with the creaking of crickets and the songs of grasshoppers. The owls come out to hunt for their prey, the home pigeons settle down for the night at the ledges of the tightly-packed houses, their nests all a tangle of hay and twigs. The crows become silent, resting on the branches of the bamboo forests, and the bamboos themselves look like guardians of the night, spreading their branches high and low.
Januarys are simply wonderful here in the city!