Thursday, February 07, 2008

The coldest winter in nearly 45 years

Mumbai, India, normally faces about a fortnight of really cold nights and slightly warmer days, and that too, sometime in late December or early January. This year has truly been unusual, in that, for the first time in over 4 and a half decades, the weather has turned chilly since mid-January, and is turning colder and colder even though the first week of February is over! Yesterday, the weather bureau reported a temperature of just 9.4 degrees C at 5.30 a.m. IST. This was something so unusual that, as one of the newspapers reported, everyone has been inconvenienced, and most people are staying indoors in the evenings. The only tribe of people who have really, really benefitted are the Nepalis who sell woollen clothes by the roadside near V.T. (Victoria Terminus), the heart of the city. They have reported more than doubling of their businesses, both in margins as well as in volumes.

How has the climate affected me? I cannot venture out without wearing a woollen jersey, something that I normally never do except when I have to go and see patients at late hours of the night/early mornings, and that too, mostly in the months I already specified earlier. My clinic air-conditioning is almost always switched off; at home, my family and I haven't used the air-conditioning since over 45 days now, the proof being the nearly 25% drop in the electricity bill for the months of December and January.

Considering that my body insulation has also come down, what with me losing nearly 12 kilograms, you can easily see why the cold weather troubles me a lot.

The positives of this weather/climate are several: appetite has gone up, one yearns to eat hot soups and have tea, cups after cups of it, shopping arcades and indoor forms of entertainment centers are seeing more and more of people coming in to escape the cold winds outside (the internal temperature is warmer than the one outside! :-)) and illnesses and business is down.

Predictions are that the same climate will persist for another week or so.

Let's wait and see ...

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