princess Snow-white…. White cover of Snow in Simla of the Sixties
Kalo would feel like a princess… Princess Snow white of the fairytales when it snowed in Simla of the Sixties.
The stairs, the drains, the roads would be covered in white blanket of snow when we would get up in the morning. Bauji would say that it doesn’t feel very cold when it has finally snowed as perhaps all the buildup cold wave in the atmosphere exhausts it’s bitter cold once the tiny and light snowflakes are released from its very being. The sky would be dark, cloudy and sometimes the turbulent thunderstorm would preced before we would finally see the white cover….so plain and divine.
This was the time when I would be so elated. Walking up the stairs would be difficult but coming down the stairs would be terrifying. But I would venture out with my feet covered in sturdy boys boots, head covered in the silken scarf and a small cheap dazzling brooch, bought from the Fancy General stores, neatly tucked in the collor of my coat.
Thus attired, I would ascend up the Nathu Halwai stairs to the Mall and when the stairs would touch the Mall, I would stand, look back at the arduous climb that I had made…the plain white slope that the stairs looked like, with a walkable passage cleared by the Samaritans in the middle. I would feel like to be on the top of the world. The feeling would not like Tensing must have had on climbing the top of Mount Everest….the feeling was much more personal and intimate as well as soft.
That was the time that I would feel like a princess….well not Cindrella exactly but Snow-white…..
I would forget about my elder sister, fair, delicate and beautiful, I was always compared to…..I would forget about how I was called Kaali-Mayali by her….I would forget the jeers I faced when wiping my running nose, invariably, with the back of my Frock hems.
I would feel the touch of soft silken scarf, my prized possession, that Amma bought me from the Khadi Bhandar and would look at the dazzling reflecting lights on the snow, emitting from the cheap 5 rupee brooch on my chest, and the warmth of my soft coat against my thin and frail body, the strength and unskipoery sole of my boy’s boots……
And believe me….I would feel like a princess of Lower Bazaar…..Snow fall would be the time when Kali would transform into a princess…..