September 22, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

Last week I was in Istanbul, just to get a paper attested by the Pakistan Consulate in Istanbul. It was just a very simple issue, and I had earlier spoken to the consulate on the telephone in advance. So I had got my night flight reserved for 3rd March 2022, along with a return night flight on 6th March.

Everything appeared well planned, and it did go through mostly according to that. Though I had been to Istanbul many times in the past, it becomes a new adventure for me every time.

Since it is winter, of course, I had thought of a rare chance of seeing a snowfall. Though Istanbul does not usually get heavy snowfall, once or twice, almost every season it gets its share of snow. Interestingly through the whole of my life, I have never seen a snowfall. It may sound odd to many, but I spent the first 36 years of my life in Karachi, Pakistan, which usually does have a very mild winter, with no rain. During that period, many times I happened to go to the northern areas with severe cold and heavy snowfall, but unfortunately, I never got a chance to visit that area during the snowfall season.

Since 1991 I have been in Northern Cyprus, and here too we do not have a severe winter season. As compared to Karachi, the winter season here is too cold, but as we all know, snowfall is rare.

In my dreams I always see myself walking alone on a quiet road, with snow falling on my head. But a dream is a dream and is still a dream.

This time too, when I visited Istanbul, I was thinking I could be lucky to see my dream becoming reality. There had been a snowfall in Istanbul, about a week earlier, but there had been nothing of the sort for me when I was there last week. On Friday, which was my first day there, the weather was comparatively hot, but the night was cold. The Meteorology Dept. too had not come out with any chance of snowfall. Though still, wishing that the Meteorological department might have made a mistake, I looked out of my hotel window every night, to see if the temperature outside had dropped to below freezing point, and the flakes of snow started flying all over the horizon, but unfortunately, nothing like that happened all three nights that I spent there.

Sunday last, when I woke up in the morning, I came out on the road from my hotel and found that the weather had changed a bit. It was about 6.00 am, the roads were empty. It was Sunday and too early. It was quite cold as compared to the earlier two days. As I roamed around on the empty roads in the area of Sirkeci and Eminönü, the weather became much colder. A strong breeze started blowing from Bogaz. When I reached the Galata Bridge, it had started drizzling. I felt tiny raindrops falling on my head.

I had thought that the dream of my life was about to become a reality. I wanted those raindrops to take the form of snow.

I could not stop myself from singing “Raindrops keep falling on my head”, as sung by B.J.Thomas. But nothing happened. As I continued crossing the Galata Bridge until the Karaköy area, the very light drizzle continued. The strong freezing wind had made my fingers and nose numb, as I started returning back from there, still singing the song.

Lately, I felt that some of those tiny drops of rain had started taking shape of very light snow flakes. But those flakes were not reaching the road. They were just flying, in between the raindrops. I wanted the weather to become colder, so that those few flying snow flakes should fall down, to make everywhere around, white, but unfortunately, it did not happen.

It was not even a proper snowfall and in fact, lasted only for a few minutes. It did not continue, though I had prayed a lot. I experienced such a situation a couple of times earlier too, but the ultimate dream of walking with snow falling all over did not become a reality again this time.

I wish that I would be lucky enough to see my dream becoming a reality, next time I visit Istanbul during winter.

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