Snowversary !

The flight that got me to London for a year-long stay there in September 2008 from Mumbai was a historic flight. It was one of the first 10 flights to land in the (then) new Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow International Airport. Once we had cleared immigration, we found a welcoming committee who were there to well, welcome the passengers, and answer any questions that we may have. So when one of the committee members beamed at me and asked if he could help me with any questions that I may have, I asked him very earnestly:

Do you think it will snow in London this season?

I don’t think the poor guy expected to be asked this question. He gaped at me and stammered out something about the fickle English weather, climate change and global warming in one confusing reply and sent me on my way.

I wasn’t about to give up so easily and in the first few weeks after my arrival, I badgered everyone with this question—from the cab driver who drove me to my hostel from the airport to the cleaning crew in my hostel to the canteen staff to the scholarships advisor to my teachers to the supermarket employees to my classmates to my flatmates to… You get the picture, na?

The reason I was so keen on getting an answer to my question was because I had never experienced snow before and my stay in London offered the best possible opportunity to experience it or so I thought. Since was I impatient to get a definite answer to fulfilling my experience, I didn’t spare anybody. What I didn’t know or understand then was the vagaries of the famous English weather, and that it was quite impossible to give an answer to my “simple” question.

Frost-covered grounds of the Regent's Park on Diwali Day in 2008

While in London, I stayed at the International Students House and was privileged and fortunate to have a room that looked out into the beautiful Regent’s Park. It became a habit to look out of my window as soon as I woke up in the morning. So imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning, about a month or so after I had arrived in London, to see white-coloured park grounds. Snow ! I was so excited that I just threw on a coat over my night-clothes, grabbed my camera and went running out of the hostel much to the bemusement of the receptionist. I discovered later that the white stuff was not snow, but frost and over the next 3 months or so experienced many a false alarm over snow.

And then when the God of Snow finally took pity on me, I was too busy completing an assignment that I had to submit the next day to even register that it was snowing outside !  It was a Monday morning, the second day of February 2009. As was my habit, on waking up at 7.00 am, I went to open my window to look out into the Regent’s Park. To my surprise, I could not open my window and worse, I could not see anything through the panes, as they were frosted over. That’s when I realised what had happened and in great excitement and no less struggle, finally managed to open the window to see this 🙂

Winter wonderland that was Regent's Park

A snowy, winter wonderland beckoned and in no time I was appropriately dressed to enjoy and experience the snow with my friends. Presenting some memories from that day:

The dalmatian was quite excited about the snow and pranced all over the place. This was one of those moments when he stilled for a second. His owner was laughing so hard at his dog's antics that we could hear him some distance away.
Meet Snowy, the handsomest snowman in the whole park.
Snowfight !!!
The frozen Regent's pond

As you can see from the photographs, I had fun. Lots of fun. It snowed on and off the whole day and we also kept going to and coming from Regent’s Park the whole day in between lots of hot chocolate, popcorn, cheese toast sandwiches and soup. And of course building snowmen and indulging in snow fights as well. In between all this, I found time to slip and slide my way to my University for my morning class and to hand over the assignment that I had so diligently slaved over the previous night.

It never occurred to me that the University could be closed and classes cancelled due to snowfall. The security guard was aghast that I had made it and gave me an earful on stupid behaviour and not checking the University website before venturing out. I told him, and rather loftily I must say, that when monsoon rains don’t faze me in Mumbai, what is a little snow in London !

It’s my snowversary in a couple of days and I am feeling nostalgic, which is making me all happy and cozy and warm and contented 😀

23 thoughts on “Snowversary !

  1. You certainly had lots of fun, going by the post and reinforced by the photographs. I could imagine the look on the face of the man in the welcoming committee! My only glimpse of snow was way back in the early 90s when we had gone to Shimla and seen a few inches of snow which had started melting by morning. Still we had a snow fight and all.


    1. Looking back now, I think I must have made a nuisance of myself asking questions about the possibility of snow in London ! But at that time it was the most important thing on earth for me 😀

      And yes, we had fun. I put up only the more sedate ones 😉


  2. wow!! saw that pic on fb and was wondering when and where it was taken!! u really must have had a wonderful time! i only saw snow once, and that was back in 90, when we had gone to badrinath and kedarnath… and since it was with a bunch of grandparents, there was no chance of even playing with the snow…. and now samhith wants to go somewhere there is snow…. lets hope we get the opportunity sometime soon!


    1. Ah the feel of snow flakes on my face and on my tongue and on my hands. Its impossible to describe the feather touch of snow flakes and can only be experienced. 🙂


  3. I was a huge fan of snow….but my city is so ill equipped to handle even the couple of inches that fall once every winter that it now seems more like a nuisance 😦 We’ve had 2 epic snowstorms, once in 2004 – 6 inches of snow on New year’s morning, that turned to ice and stayed that way for the next 7 days. The other one was in 2008 – 24 inches of snow in all, we had 3 layers of snow and ice on top of each other. 3 weeks of being cooped up at home with too much family time now has me wishing for a couple of snow days every winter 🙂 Too much of a good thing, I guess 🙂


    1. Well, I have only written about the nice part of my first snow experience. The snow did turn to ice and then slush and then became dirty ! But being my first (and so far only) experience, everything has been wonderful 🙂


      1. Ahh, the first snowfall had us trying to make a snowman out of half an inch of snow. Pitiful looking he was, too. However when I described it to my parents I made it sound like we were buried in snow. First experiences with snowfall are magical and you had an impressive amount of snow to play in :D. I will make sure to read this post of yours when i am complaining about icy roads and cold weather.


    1. Thank you, Nona. You shouldn’t flee from snow; instead make friends with snow so that you can build snowmen or snowwomen, if you please and have snow fights ! That’s the best part 🙂


  4. I am in London now. Came in the last week of Jan and am going to be here through Feb. I have been hearing about possible snowing this week or next week. Not sure if I would get an opportunity to see that. 🙂


  5. What a timely post!! It snowed over last weekend in London area. But seems like snow doesn;t like me. I spent 2 winters in London area (London & Swindon), there was no snow. And within hours my flight took of it started snowing in 2009. Now I’ve spent two more in Aberdeen (Scotland) and there snow in here as well!!


  6. Sudha, I was in London in Mar-May 2008. It was the year summer didnt start even till it was May. In fact, it was snowing in April and the winds were terribly cold. So, no one wanted to see any snow except people like us who had never seen snow. I remember my first time. It looked liked a dream, all those snow flakes. But I had my first hail stone experience and didnt want any more of it.


    1. You’re right, its only people like us who have never experienced snow who like it. 🙂

      2008 was a strange year. The weather was all topsy turvy, it was the year that recession set in and that year’s winter was pretty severe as well. I have experienced hail in Pune once, but it wasn’t that bad. At least not enough to make me net want to experience it again !


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