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   We are now in Bombay's best season... (March 1, 1986)

We are now in Bombay's best season. The mornings crisp and wintery, threads of mist in the trees along the racecourse, the Oval with the overnight dew lingering on its grass, the sea skipping towards Marine Drive embankment, waves of white crest riding in, the wet red tiles of the high court gently glistening in the mellow sunlight.

In every corner of Bombay there is a winter scene. The millhands wrapped up against the cold waiting for the gates of the mills to open for the early shift, the queues at the milk booths, huddled against the cold, like a dog snuggling down, the bonfires of the night before, still glowing spreading the last of their warmth.

I like the winter sounds and smells. The neigh of the horses as they come out for a fast track at Mahalaxmi, though that is still a few days away and winter may end by then. The tennis courts of the gymkhanas with elderly energetic figures. The groundsmen watering the turf at the Bombay Gym. When I used to work at the Time, and walk to work, I used to smell this piece of turt every morning. Now I miss it, especially on mornings such as these. But then you can't have everything. Either you want to smell pretty things or do a little more significant work than covering Rotary Club of Bombay and the municipal corporation.

Most people from the north, used to harder winters, dismiss our brief season. It is not winter, they say, feeling the air. But they are only feeling the temperature. There are other things to a Bombay winter. The baskets of fresh strawberries in the markets and on the pavements of Warden Road, the winter fishes at Sassoon Dock, the scent of woodfires, the arrival of the winter birds, though I cannot distinguish a winter bird from a summer bird.

And it is the general ambience of winter. The feeling that it is at last winter, that the air is fresh and crisp and for a few days fit to breath in.

And it is the general ambience of winter. The feeling that it is at last winter, that the air is fresh and crisp and for a few days fit to breath in.

For Bombay's winter is short, perhaps the shortest winter in the world. A slight nip in the air and, by the time you feel it, it is gone.

 
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