Hunting for Mr Frost.
And Finding...

By Sonal Chordia

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Coonoor, next door to Ooty, is about 4000-5000 feet above sea level. Its usually pleasant, but in winter can get chilly. Obviously its nowhere near the temperatures of Kashmir or Norway or Alaska. So you hardly expect to find the much romanticised white Christmas... At most, you think that your breath will puff, your nose will sniffle and your chest will wheeze.

In mid-winter however with the thermometre edging towards zero, the wise cuddle in bed. Get up late. Cover, head, toes, chest, legs in layers. Have hot cups of tea and coffee. Perhaps add a drap of something stronger.

But then when you have a curious cat or should we say mad hatter like Sonal... who insists you wake up at 5.00 in the morning. And get out of Bed. And go out in the cold to even colder hills, you do what her husband did... turn over and go to sleep. But then you'd miss out on...

Thankfully for us, Sonal and Co had cameras, and a wonderful pen... we hand you over to Sonal and her merry band of Frost Hunters...

And Finding... Miss Magic...

And a White Christmas.

'This winter had crisp nights, clear bright blue skies, fireplaces alit at home...and as I sipped my coffee, I wondered if I got up early enough perhaps I could catch how the first rays of the sunlight kiss the ground in the morning... Perhaps there'd be a few winter frost icicles...

"What an absolutely silly idea" said some. Others grumbled at the very thought of it. Some felt I was getting excited over an absolute nothing. All I would get was a cold.

"Who I wondered who would join me on my mad search for frost? Which fool wakes up on a cold winter morning for craziness like this? But luckily, there were other fools like me... and there we were a car-full who thought it sounded like fun... Little did we realise just what our little jaunt would find.

"Not expecting the world, and yet expecting the world.. We excitedly woke up at 5.30 am . All layered with woolens and coats,the first step out in the cold was a 'wow' feeling.. And the anticipation began..FROST HUNTERs we called ourselves..

 

 

 

"Frost Hunters we called ourselves... Foolish romantics friends muttered beneath their breaths..."

 

"Yes, it was bitterly cold... Zero. And then some idiot rolled down the glass... and us other idiots followed.

"The drive from Coonoor to Ooty  is normally scenic. But that winter day it was was one of spectacular... a white wonderland as dawn caught the veils of mist, hills wrapped themselves in wedding gowns... The Nilgiris stopped thinking they were hills in the Tropics and stated dreaming they were in The Alps or Kashmir...

"Patches of white diamonds were strewn by the road, grass growing on the sides of the road were glistening with white icicles. We were going "look, look" like little kiddies on a school picnic.

 

The excitement to get out kept growing... and voila we approached a huge piece of pasture between the hills.. That was it.. That was the place which was calling out for me.. The voice got louder as we got closer.. And we stopped the car.. The first step on that magical land felt like a step on some mysterious fantasy haven.. "The field was filled with patches of frost... the trunks of trees coated with a layer of ice looked like pillars in Xanadu or the white witch's inner chambers...

Even the ugly used bottles thrown by the tourists were blessed, they had frozen white.. The grass was glistening with icy joy... And that's when the feeling of magic soaked in.. The same magic that we find when we see something which we 've only dreamt of.. Hearts suddenly filling with so much happiness..so much joy ...and gratitude for life grows multifold as the beauty of nature soaks into our souls..a moment which is captured into my memory forever... etched in the camera roll of life's magical moments.

"The first rays of the sun melting the icicles into water and the vapor of the condensation floating up from the ground ..a breathtaking moment .. The water body beside the pasture suddenly enveloped with the cold mist floating above the water.. There is a confusion whether the water body is just a lake or a cloud on earth.. Are we walking on the clouds?...

"They say when God descends down on Earth , it's magic.. This was definitely one of those moments..

 

"As we returned home... with cold feet, warm hearts... and cameras filled with awe... the stay-in-beds actually envied us and said they'd like to come with us next year... {Hmmm... this year, someone suggested skinny dipping in the wintry mountain streams with rainbow trout... }

"Not all voyages require passports, visas, suitcases and tickets... All we need is a hidden passion to truly discover magic , and a belief that magic exists in so many forms...

Yes, it is that simple...