Our first summer in Canada took us by surprise. It was so hot and humid that it was difficult to imagine just a few months ago we had been trudging through snow.
My wife gloried in the heat, but I have always liked cooler weather and I grumbled that at least in Canada one should be able to enjoy hill station weather year-round.
Our neighbour Frank heard me and wanted to know what ‘hill station’ weather was.
“Cool and crisp,” I explained. “Not hot and muggy like it is now. You know, like it is in a hill station.”
“Which brings me to my next question,” said Frank with a smile. “What is a hill station?”
And thus I discovered that a commonly-used expression in India was a novelty for my neighbour.
Which was surprising, considering we spoke “British English”, not the American version. And weren’t Canadians loyalists and, therefore, conversant with “English as she is spoke”?
Apparently not. I explained as best as I could what a hill station was, how the British officers of the Raj used to send their families off to the hills for the summer.
Then I came home and looked up its origins. Not much help there, but I think it has to do with the fact that army officers were stationed there.
Whatever the origins, now that we’ve been here for many years and weathered many long winters, I, too, wait for the warmth and the sun in summer and have stopped longing for hill station weather!
– Naveen Sharma
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