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A note on the issue: Wintering vs hibernation

In regions where winter can stretch to eight months of the year, locals enjoy the outdoors no matter what the conditions

Ice swimming is popular throughout Europe. Via Getty
Ice swimming is popular throughout Europe. Via Getty

I first learnt of hibernation through cartoons—a large, colourful bear was trying to fill up on berries to sleep through the long winter. It was a puzzling concept to child of the tropics.

Also read: Not for the faint-hearted: ice swimming in Copenhagen

In Bengaluru, Chennai and Coonoor, the places I am probably most familiar with, winter—or rather January—is a time of beauty. The air is crisp, the sky is bright blue, the sun is warming rather than scorching, and there’s more than usual to do—from get-togethers and cultural festivals to meeting friends visiting from across the world.

Until I spent some small amount of time in London and then moved to Delhi, I never understood the equating of winter with sadness and struggle, though all of literature, art and culture did. Until then, it was a time to be outdoors and “enjoy the weather” rather than hunker down and hibernate. And in the Nordic region, where winter can stretch to eight months of the year and temperatures drop to unimaginable levels, that’s exactly what they seem to do—they enjoy the outdoors no matter what the conditions.

Swimming, dancing at music festivals, hiking… there are many ways to enjoy winter like a local in Iceland, Finland, Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries. They “winter”—rest, relax and live in the moment—rather than hibernate and hide away.

At Lounge, January is also the month when we turn the focus on fiction. The spirit of last week’s fiction special continues. This week, novelist Manoj Rupda, the author of, among other books, the moving I Named My Sister Silence, has written an original short story for us. It’s translated from Hindi by the talented Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, who previously, wrote his own short story for Lounge. Paper Boat is a compelling portrait of the nature of courage, the depth of convictions and our ability to change.

Write to the Lounge editor at shalini.umachandran@htlive.com

@shalinimb

Also read: The music festival you have never heard of

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