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.
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 🙂
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:
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 😀