Thursday, March 1, 2012

Delhi In March: Goodbye Winter!

The first few days of March try desparately to cling to what remains of the winter, but soon it becomes clear that winter has finally bid goodbye to the capital and summer is on its way. That makes March a kind of 'in-between' month.

The sun, that was so sought-after all these days, is better avoided now, especially in the afternoons. The warm clothes and razais that hugged you like a dear friend, are if the friend just went out-of-favour. It is time to put away your winter clothes. Wasn't it just a few days ago that you had to remember to drink water? Now, you are thirsty often and a drink of cool water is always welcome. Vegetables don't look so tempting as they did earlier. Soon, they will disappear altogether, making way for summer fruits and veggies.

This month heralds the festival of Holi that marks the end of winter. It is one of the major festivals of North India. Other than essential services, most of the establishments are closed. People enjoy the day with colours and sweets. It is unlike any other festival. It has turned into a social occasion which is celebrated outside the home.  I have written a detailed note on Holi in one of my earlier posts. Here it is:

Holi is fun for sure. But there is more to March. It brings with it the dreaded board examinations. Every year, lakhs of students appear for these exams routinely, but that does not diminish the awe they always generate in parents and students alike. Families who have children taking the boards, experience some tense times. Many working mothers take leave and stay at home to extend support to their children. Of late, there have been some helplines where professional help is just a phone call away for those who cannot cope with the pressure. Examinations are important, but parents, teachers and citizens in general need to come forward and do their bit in reducing the unnecessary stress that so many of our young minds are subjected to. Better communication throughout the year can help to detect stress levels in the students, and timely counselling can save many careers.

The Union Budget, referred to as the Annual Financial Statement in the Constitution of India is presented every year by the Finance Minister in the Parliament in the last week of February. But this year, it is to be presented on March 16. The postponement is due to Assembly elections in five states. Once the House passes the Budget, it comes into effect from April 1, the beginning of the financial year. The Finance Ministry in the North Block situated on the majestic Raisina Hill is the centre of all the action. What gets prepared there, has its repercussions in the whole country. The day after the budget is presented, all the newspapers are full of budget-related news. The budget is all over the news channels on the telly. There are the mandatory interviews with the aam aadmi, economists, financial wizards and most interestingly, the Finance Minister's spouse!

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