Belonging to a part of the world where the average temperature stays at 30 degree Celsius [86 F], the possibility of seeing and playing in snow always remained a dream. It took almost three decades of my life before an opportunity came up to experience this white colored wonder from Mother Nature!
My second assignment abroad for a project took me to the erstwhile imperial capital of the world, London. In fact the place where I was to spend the next one month of my life was about forty minutes’ drive from London. It was a small town called Thame besides the motorway M40 which connects London with Birmingham.
The client was Travelodge, the second largest budget hotel chain in the UK and Ireland. I was staying at one of their hotels itself which was a stone’s throw away from the office of Travelodge. The day I reached London was one of the saddest days of my life since I was away from my darling wife on the day of our first wedding anniversary! I stepped out of the taxi driven by a Punjabi guy to a bone chilling late afternoon weather when the calendar was almost at the door steps of December.
I was there for a requirements gathering session with the client for less than a month after promising my sweetheart that I’ll be home before Santa Claus arrives and was hoping to make up for not being together for our first anniversary. On the third day of reaching Thame, I woke up in the morning and parted the curtains of my room to be welcomed by one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen in my life! The green leaves of the shrubs, the tree tops, the brick-laden footpath and the tiles on the roof of the nearby café and gas station; everything was radiating purity! The world around me had turned white overnight! It snowed!
Three layers of clothes protected me from the extreme climate I was in. While walking to the office across the road, I removed my woolen gloves, bend down and picked up a bit of snow which seemed to have so much of innocence that I was holding it as I would a baby rabbit in my palm. I appreciated the beauty and the softness of the snow flakes and thanked God for finally giving me an opportunity to see the snow, perhaps at its best!
My camera was capturing every moment of it. Green fields covered with white snow, grey colored horses braving the freezing temperature and low hanging blood red cherry laden with flakes of snow. Anything and everything around me looked picture perfect to be clicked. It was such an awesome experience and the only thing I missed was my beloved besides me!
At the breaking of the dawn on the day of my return to homeland there was an even bigger surprise for me! Thick blankets of snow enveloped the whole place and I was in total ecstasy! I ran out and along with our receptionist who was a very friendly Pakistani guy, played in the snow for a while. It was an incredible experience to say the least and I felt an inner voice telling me to enjoy it while it lasts.
Little did I know that this was the beginning of one of the most traumatic encounters I’ve ever had with destiny. My little White Wonder metamorphosed itself to a White Devil!
[To be continued…]