You know a Mumbai Winter
Many years ago, on a warm summer’s day in Warsaw, the chambermaid of the hotel we were staying in was horrified when she saw me zipping up my baby pink windcheater.
Not only was this NOT the height of chic, but I was also the only one so ‘fashionably’ dressed. All those around me, including the chambermaid, was stripped down to their tank tops and shorts!
The chambermaid couldn’t contain herself and asked me where I came from.
When I told her that a hot summer day ( 25 ° C that day) in Warsaw was probably the coldest day in Mumbai, she rolled her eyes in disbelief.
I realised then, that we in Mumbai are truly blessed when it comes to cold weather. It’s not really cold to those who’ve experienced cold, but it’s cold enough for you to want to stand in the sun
You know it’s winter in Mumbai when
- It’s pitch dark outside when you get up at 6.00 a.m.
- You have an evening walk at 4 because it gets dark by 6.
- The smog outside dims the lights of the Queen’s Necklace.
- Hordes of Tibetan sweater sellers take up half the pavement in Nana’s Chowk.
- The grannies in the building bundle up in assorted shawls.
- Traffic light vendors shove boxes of strawberries under your nose by while you wait for the light to turn green.
- The carrots get redder and peas soft and sweet.
- You put away the remote for the AC and pull out those blankets kept mothballed away
- You prefer wearing silks and long sleeved T’s.
- When friends and family are busy with their friends and family who’ve descended on them from colder climes
- When songs by Jim Reeves play on radio waves
- When cotton wool snow and tinsel and red make up decorations in shops and hotels
A different kind of Winter
But this Winter, Mumbai has been different. Indeed, it has been quite cold in most parts of India.
- For one, winter has extended its stay. Normally by mid-February we have put away our blankets and woollies.
- The temperatures are colder than normal. This year the temperatures have even dipped to 22° C as they did last night.
- The Tibetan Sweater sellers have disappeared this year. More people are wearing stylish winter wear and Mumbaikars are actually adopting more stylish Winter wear.
- The grannies in our building have stopped coming to the garden. They prefer chilling in their warm homes instead. And if they dare come down, they look like Little Red Riding Hoods, all wrapped up in red scarves and shawls to match
- I haven’t opened up my windows for almost two months now.
- I’m still using my razai in February.
There’s a nip in the air these past few days and most of us are nursing sore throats and wiping noses that drip. But even though I’m harboring cold germs that threaten to sneeze, I enjoy watching the sunset with a cup of hot tea and a stiff ocean breeze.
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