Chillay Kalaan– or the 40 coldest days in Kashmir start from 21st Decemeber, followed by Chilla Baccha, which is less harsh. Generally in Kashmir, people wait for Chillay Kalaan, preparing themselves to meet the chill that is about to make life difficult.
Winter being a part and parcel of the Kashmiri way of life has made the lifestyle of the Kashmiris from the oldest times prepared to meet this breathtakingly beautiful monster that makes life very difficult. With roads blocked, and all commodities of need unavailable in the market, Kashmiris had chosen a way of life to make best of the winter months.
Preparation for winter used to start way ahead, with women drying vegetables and other products to be used in the cold winter — All’e Hacche, Wangan Hacche, Rowangan Hacche and even dried fish. The other popular method of preservation was making pickles — Aanchaar — be it of the vegetables or meat. Rice grain and pulses were kept stored at home for the same winter months.
But that was then. Over the years with commodities in winter becoming available via the Jammu Srinagar highway, and so called “modern” lifestyle where there is no place for haccha, a lot of other things have also changed.
And what I find rather noteworthy is the fact that even the Chillay Kalaan has modernised. Ever since the onset of Chillay Kalaan we are having a very sunny (and cold) winter. A dry winter sun. Whatever happened to Chillay Kalaan is yet unexplainable — they blame it on the environment etc…
well well that is for the Chillay Kalaan that is overpowered by the sun…
Things are getting very strange in Kashmir….