The weather at Shimla has gone up drastically. Day time temperature on Saturday was 20. It was after a long time that I left my jackets and pullovers and went out in half sleeves. Mall was pleasant in the evening and it seemed that everyone was out anticipating the summers. Narkanda is still quite chilly. Further down the road to Kotgarh there is around 20 feet of snow on road side and avalanches coming down now and then. The orchards still are under snow making it impossible to get the work started.
Shivratri is around the corner and the preparations have started with lentils being dried up for the delicacies. Can hardly wait for the feast. But before the feast, Mahadev, as Lord Shiva is known in the hills, is decked up and pooja is performed. As kids, grandfather would ask us to offer some money to Mahadev and the next morning the amount used to get doubled! We kids would save what ever little money we would get and beg and borrow from parents to get the booty doubled next morning. The booty, though never exceeded 100 bucks but Mahadev was a great paymaster and would never default on doubling our amount.
This is also the time to visit the married daughters of the family. The ladies look forward to the paors being brought from their parents house. These are normally Pakains – deep fried rotis stuffed with lentils or til, vadaas – Made of lentils, chure – looks like jalebi but sweetend with gur, Sansa – prepared with maida looks similar to papads and prepared sweet and salty. For the kids is a special treat in form of bakras. These bakras are made of flour and then given a shape of bakra and cooked on tawa. Normally Shivratri falls in the second half of February but this time being in March, the kids are going to miss all the fun as the schools have opened in Shimla.
So here is wishing everyone a good time on Shivratri and some great sunny days ahead. Summer time is full of problems in Shimla because of water scarcity but then this will be a topic for another day.