Anyone who has ever lived in Mussoorie even for a short period of time has memories about the weather. If it’s winter, you are freezing most of the time. I remember a piano student in the 1970’s who had chilblains so badly she couldn’t play at all. I knitted fingerless gloves to help us survive. For a piano recital, we had to put an electric blanket on the keyboard for an hour or two before the concert.
One February when our family returned from a visit to the U.S., our taxi barely got us to Picture Palace in the evening because of snow. It was impossible to drive or walk to the school as the Mussoorie street was covered with ice. We got a room at a nearby hotel and spent the night – including our children of 4 and 8 – in a large bed with one big risei to cover us. Still being jet-lagged, we woke around 3:00 AM and lay there until daylight and there was a possibility of some chai. After the sun came out, it thawed a bit and we picked our way back to Palisades, with coolies following carrying our luggage.
Then there is the monsoon, which seems endless when you are living in it. The beauty is amazing, lush ferns and other plants growing and flowering everywhere, and clouds rolling up from Dehra Dun. But there is also the reality of moldy shoes, laundry that never really dries and smells sour, and leeches lurking and waiting for tempting human skin to come near.
We arrived here in mid-March and, as expected, it was fairly cold. But we had the right clothing and it was all right. It’s now been nearly a month and it seems that the weather can’t decide quite what to do. Within the space of a day, it is warm and sunny, cold and windy, thundering and raining. It feels as though we are on the way to warmer weather, but on a zigzag path that looks like a cartoon business chart.