Uki-time, Folks!

A Window on Japan
Episode 5

This rather short episode was written after I saw my first snow fall ever, in Japan. Coming from India, snow is something you see only in the movies or photos, unless of course you lived in the Himalayas or thereabouts ...

There is something about uki (snow). Something romantic. Take the rain: its wet, simply a drop of water that falls straight down like an arrow, splotch! and its gone into the earth. Not the snow, no man. It floats and dances its way down, blowing this way now, that way next. Lands on the tip of your nose, tickling you, making you want to brush it off. It slowly settles down on the ground, still a wispy snow flake, maintaining its beauty, reluctant to melt off into water even when its reached its journey's end. When snow falls, there's excitement in the air and it make you want to linger outdoors and watch it fall. Rain in slow motion. And a pinch of romance thrown in.

The other day, when it was snowing, the Japanese around me kept saying to each other, "Samuei desu ne?" (Cold, isn't it?). They withdrew deeper into their coats and hunched down and hurriedly walked away. And all I could do was gaze at the sky and watch the snow fall. My mouth was open. It really was. Hoping to catch a flake, and as if in response, a flake floated down, straight down into my mouth. There was a sudden tinge of cold as it landed on my tongue, before it disappeared and melted off.

I must have been a sight to the Japanese. There I was, walking with my gaze towards the sky, an unopened umbrella in my hands, just letting the snow drape all around me clinging to my cloths, not wanting them to melt away into water....trying to stay on as long as they could. A group of kids looked up ad shouted "UKIII...!!" and jumped up with open mouths trying to capture a flake. Watching them, I felt a sense of commadre with them. I too felt the romance in the snow.

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