First Snow

by Anu Garg

(published in The International Students' Newsletter, Winter 1994 at Case Western Reserve University)

I reached the United States on an early, fresh September morning. I came here to pursue my graduate studies in computer science. But not long after that, I was eagerly looking forward to the arrival of December. No, I wasn't bogged down by the pressures of a strenuous graduate program and looking for the Christmas break; I was eager for the snowfall that would come sometime during December as my friends had told me. In a hot country like India, there is no question of the snowfall (if the doorknobs don't melt with heat, they call it winter there (-: ) and going by the pictures I had seen of snowfall, it believed it to be one of the most picturesque scenes.

Now, I don't think, anyone would have been watching the weather reports on the television with more enthusiasm than me. I didn't have to wait for long. The TV announced in the morning, "Flurries expected today." And it was only November! Could I be more lucky? "I do not know what people do here during snowfall, but I guess I would be dancing out in the open," I told my roommate. He retorted, "Well, not many people out here would share your enthusiasm. Snow brings its own problems and makes life tough for them."

Whole of that day, my eyes were glued to the window. During the dinner, while my roommate was watching his favorite show on the TV, I was still looking for a trace of some cool white crystal to come down and cling at the window. But it was not to be. It didn't snow. Thoroughly disappointed, I proceeded to my bed. "Well, may you get to see a lot of snow in your dreams," he tried to console me, unsuccessfully. Tired of a long day at school, I had a good night's sleep, a sleep without dreams.

When, I woke up the next day, the snow thing had long gone out of my mind. While brushing my teeth, I just glanced out through the blinds. Hey! What's that? I had woken up to a white world! I lifted the blinds, removed the screens and craned out my neck. Have you ever seen anything more pure and white and cool? Was I excited to look at that? When I walked down to the school, I didn't step on the sidewalk which the maintenance people had laboriously cleaned up. I trod on where snow was thick and soft. I think I was intoxicated with the view. A white sheet of cool snowflakes on trees and roofs and grass and everywhere. Well, I didn't dance out in the open, I would have been too self-conscious for that. But when I reached the school, my hands were frozen solid. I had been making snowballs all the way. And by the way, that was the longest, I ever took to reach the school. It was the joy of watching the snow first time. It need not be snowfall, it could be your first ride on the roller coaster, your first try at skating or anything for that matter, but can you forget the joy of that first time?

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