Saturday, October 29, 2011

First snowfall of the season

Today it is 29th October 2011.  Time:  9 AM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).  I was watching the only T20 Cricket Match between India and England which was about to start.  It was dull light outside and the Sun has not come out.  Temperature outside is rather a chill 36*F, equal to 2.2 degrees Celsius.  Temperature inside the house is a comfortable 72*F or 22*C.  Heating system is working overtime to maintain the temperature at 72*F.

Everything is very calm outside.  Being a Saturday, it is week end for every working person.  Things are quiet and there is little traffic in the nearby highway.  Suddenly there are white flakes falling from the sky.  It is snowing!  Half an hour later it is regular snowfall and we have the first snow of the season. 

We had a desire to see snowfall here during this visit.  Expectation was that we may see a white Christmas. For those who have seen sunrise many times, a new sunrise may not give that much of a thrill.  But for someone watching the sun rise for the first time, it is a different level of experience altogether. For us in South India, snowfall is unheard of.  May be,  people in Himachal or Kashmir experience it every year.  Snowfall may even bring lot of difficulty and misery for people living in those parts.  Going out may be a problem and saying inside without proper heating system may be even a bigger problem.  Those caught unawares in snowfall or snow storm, especially without proper winter-wear, may even be cursing the weather.  It appears this snowfall is a bit ahead of expectation in these parts of the country, though it is snowing in mid-west since a week and Denver has received heavy snowfall.

Out first tryst with snow was to be when we visited Kufri, near Shimla, some twenty five years ago.  Our visit was in April and it was well past snowing time and it was a disappointment. The next was a visit to Manali which was again in April and there was no snowfall.  We were taken to a place some 50 Kilometers away from Manali called snow point.  We played on some snow which had already fallen to the ground and frozen as ice in most parts.  It was freezing cold and we were not comfortable in hired winter gear.  The actual feel of snow was later in our visit to Sikkim.  We had been to a place called Nathu La on the India-China border about 55 Kilometers from the Sikkimese Capital, Gangtok.  It was snow everywhere - above, below and surroundings, but we could not see any actual snowfall.  It was more of a mist cover than snow.  The nearest snowfall we saw was in Minneapolis three years ago, in October 2008, when for a few minutes we could see snow falling with along light rain.  But today's snowfall is the actual snowfall experienced by us.

भवन्ति नम्रास्तरवः फलोद्गमैः (Bhavanti namrahstaravah phalodgamaihi), the poet says, meaning that the trees bend with the arrival of fruit bearing season.  Bending due the weight of fruits.  Today I can see that it is भवन्ति नम्रास्तरवः हिमगमैः  (Bhavanti namraahstaravah himagamaihi)!  Trees are bending because of the arrival of snow.  Some of the trees have bent by as much as six to eight feet due to the weight of snow on their leaves. If we go to North Karnataka, around Gadag, in cotton season, we can see acres and acres of lands with white cotton flowering in the cotton growing lands.  Just like red everywhere in the nearby chilly growing fields.  Today it appears all the trees here are loaded with cotton and ready for harvesting.  We went out and stood in the snow for a few minutes.  Now it is "Footprints on the grains of snow" where we were standing there,  just like Footprints on the sands of time.  Photographs taken now are a treasure for the future.

It is a sight to see lumps of snow falling from the trees to the ground.  The white carpet of mowed grass fields has a six inch white carpet of snow over it.  Birds appeared to be confused and were flying around for some time.  Some of them even drank the water from melting snow flakes. Now they appear to have settled down in their nests. it could be a hard day for them to find their food today.  But nature has probably its own way of compensating them.

Snowing has intensified.  It is not a time to be with laptop.  It is a time to watch and enjoy.  Watching mother nature in a white Saree is  indeed a pleasure. And a long cherished wish fulfilled.


  1. You paint a picture with your words sir.wonderful account. Though cotton growing in Gadag and Haveri districts has come down.

  2. woke up few minutes ago. Took my mobile in my hand. Logged into and now I've finished reading your photographic biography, the first thing for today. I must say you have made my day. I've never experienced snow but I've a strong fascination for it. Your words have injected a very good feeling in me. Thank you.

  3. Enjoyment of seeing the first snow fall, catching the snow flakes, standing under the snow shower, tree branches bending with its heaviness like cotton trees in full bloom .... wow!
    Having the Wish come true is a great blessing(UR). You can't beat this.

  4. A colourful account of the white canvas. Your felicity with words is truly amazing. Your concern over the avian plight reveals a tender heart.