Kerala, where I now live, has three seasons: hot, hotter and hottest. I don’t miss winter anyway, not much at least. I spent my entire youth in Shillong where the winter really chilled people. And winter stretched from October to March, half the year. I detested the cold and yet never thought of leaving the place until the place chucked me out. That’s called destiny.
I never believed in destiny until Shillong’s variegated chills taught lessons the hardest way possible. There’s the chill that the mountains hurl at you mercilessly. Then there’s the chill that the mountain people send down your spine. I had enough of both.
My middle age was spent in Delhi where the winter was far more desirable if only because the summer was starkly unbearable. Delhi’s winters did not chill me much, anyway. The smog was a menace; the chill was a welcome contrast to the summer’s hell.
Now there’s no winter. Right now, at 7 pm in the latter half of December, I sit under a fan after my evening shower. My laptop shows the temperature of my place as 28 degree Celsius.
There’s a chill that’s running down my spine, however. People can give you the chills wherever you are. It’s my country’s government that gives me the chills now. From Kashmir through the Ayodhya verdict to the Citizenship Act, the past few months have been remarkably chilling for me. Hitler’s ghost visits me eerily even in the daytime.
What worries me more than the government’s decisions is the response of a large section of citizens. I go through the comments sections of social medias feeling numbing chills all over my body. I occasionally feel my heart stopping to beat. So much hatred! No, this is not good for any country. I know that my government is an utter failure even when a large section of citizens comment that the government is doing the right thing. If the government is doing the right thing, why is there so much fear in one section of citizens and so much hatred in the other?
Neither fear nor hatred can be good for anyone anywhere. A government that gives little more than these two emotions is wrong, terribly wrong, I know. That’s my December chills now.