I hate the cold. Sitting in blistering Chennai I don’t like when the fan or air-con is on “too high”. I like when a little bit of physical exercise is performed, a feeling that one is about to sweat almost instantaneously occurs. Being from a college where if you don’t sweat like it’s just rained when you’re dancing, you haven’t done enough, it’s hard not to look forward to the feeling. When I visit a hill station in India (Ooty) I refuse to step out in the evening for a walk cause it’s “too cold.”
I travelled to London. Dreading the cold more than ever as my previous experience had taught me to do. I landed at Heathrow not knowing who was to pick me up or where I was going. There are advantages to having a father like mine, eg: I never have to worry about things like this. I have one coat which is more spring-ish than winter-ish. I wrap myself up nice and tight and brace myself for the cold. I got what I expected. The freezing ‘breeze’ that elicits the phrase ‘nice autumn day’ from any Englishman.
Over the next week I saw all the various clothing and feeding styles that come about because of the cold. I felt the brisk morning air as it filled me up with an urge to go out and do something while still begging me to stay in bed. Hot chocolate didn’t make me feel like I was about to cook my innards and wool tights allowed me to wear short clothes without making me self conscious. I got to wear tiny heeled boots -- which were admittedly not made for the winter, but were nice all the same. I got to buy formal woolen pants that I wore when I went into the House of Lords to hear a lecture on sustainability. I got to walk up and down Oxford Street looking at sweaters and jackets and boots and all sorts of other winter ‘requirements’ for women in the sunny but cold weather. I got hailed on while checking out a restaurant and then got to sit in a warm toasty bar while munching on massive amounts of spaghetti as it rained on the world. I got to hang out with friends and have supposedly intellectual or heart to heart conversations about anything and everything under the sun. I learned that grey clothing was not for the people who had no imagination and that there were a thousand different shades of it that could be made to look rather nice!
It is true that more than half the reason for my new-found love for the weather was due to the fashion possibilities that made my head spin. But there is that other significant portion that allowed me to enjoy coming back to a cozy warm house at the end of a fun and tiring night. The joy of drinking hot chocolate and tea at anytime of the day or night to keep warm. Going to a dinner in a silk sari and have people ask if you aren’t cold at all cause they haven’t ever worn silk in the winter without the accompaniment of wool.
My love affair with London was originally in my head. Now it’s a real live feeling. I’m sitting at the airport ready to go back to my own home and my brand new car, but I miss London already!