I live in Mumbai, where “winter” temperatures usually range between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.
By most people’s standards, this would be pleasant weather. But for me, it’s that time of the year when my jackets, warm clothes, and socks take centre stage.
When you know the warmth of a comfortable bed and a hot cup of tea, along with being immensely grateful, it’s also a great time to think of those who don’t know those things—and do something about it.
Last winter, my mother and I bought some blankets, took out some of our extra winter clothes, and went out with flasks of hot tea and paper cups and distributed it amongst those whose winters we hoped to make a little warmer. The warmth and peace a hot cup of tea (or chai as it’s known in South Asia) brings cannot be overstated.
Every effort counts; every act of kindness, however small, can make someone’s winter a little warmer. If each of us individually (or in small groups) come together and pull together a minuscule fraction of what we have, we can warm our hearts with the joy of giving and the hearts of others by making them feel seen.
In 2018, Imran Khan’s government initiated the setting up of Panah Gah (shelter homes) so that no one slept out on footpaths in the bitter cold. These shelter homes also provide warm, freshly cooked food.
An image that stayed with me from the media coverage of this initiative was that of Raja Tariq Mehmood Murtaza, chairman of the Rawalpindi Development Authority, sitting and sharing a meal with those who had taken shelter in the Panah Gah and taking feedback from them on how the government could improve it and the facilities provided by it.
It was inspiring, humbling, and heartwarming to see such a deep sense of humanity and sensitivity in a government official.
Whoever you may be, and whatever you may have, we all have a little more than we need. It can start with our own homes. Making sure all our house help and those who work for us have jackets, sweaters, and all that would make winter less cold.
And then, step out and reach out to those in our communities.
I wish for you and yours a “warm” winter.