I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Part 3: Weather

This is close to my heart. It is also difficult for me to judge which is better - Bombay monsoons or Delhi's set of autumns, winters and springs. I would have declared the match a tie and moved on. However, we are not here for a draw, right? The paying crowd will go back disappointed. Surely, we can come up with a ranking.

Okay, so what are the premises on which I will judge weather? I will use comfort (which provides the staple) and variety (which is the zing).

Comfort: Comfort has been defined as temperature between 20-26 degrees C and humidity of 50%, in North America. I am assuming the same for Indians (my limited experience in AC systems suggests this).

Analysis* of the average temperatures (Delhi and Bombay) show that Bombay temperature is more comfortable: average temperatures are in the comfort zone for 3 months and very close to it for 2 other months. Delhi manages the comfort zone only in 2 months. However, when it comes to humidity, Mumbai has an annual average of 90%, which is way above the comfort zone. Delhi has average humidity of slightly less than 50%, with it hitting humidity above 70% only 65 days a year. If I give equal weights to humidity and temperature, Delhi pips it at the post.

Variety: Okay, so 'comfort' had a little too much of number-crunching. It was easier to comment on, as well, since you have a scientific definition of comfort. When it comes to variety, obviously, it is difficult. There are two schools of thought and I come squarely from the variety-seeking school. Hence, I like the Delhi weather a wee bit more. (btw, in case you ask why Delhi weather is more varied, well then let me point out that while the average monthly temperature in Delhi and Mumbai are 25.3 and 26.8, standard deviation is 7.1 and 1.8 degrees)

How much I love the Delhi weather, was brought out, when I came back from Bangalore after six months, one December evening. The plane landed around 10:30 and I got out, wearing just a light wind-breaker. Woosh!! The chill surrounded me in an instant. However, the chill didn't disown you. It wrapped around me a celebratory covering.
My ears felt alive, after a long time. Soon, the rest of my face joined in the celebration. To really feel the sensation of touch, you need to be in Delhi in winters. For that feeling alone, I will give the victory to Delhi.

However, the point behind this entire set of debates is not just establishing facts and presenting my point of view on the debates. I also get to read some rather passionate arguments in my comments. This time, I also got to read a few blog posts connected to weather in these two cities. What follows are a collection of items that I found interesting:

"You don't drink tea by cups in Delhi, you drink them by the conversations. One doesn't say 'I have four cups', instead - the line reads 'We had tea over two hours of gup-shup (Conversation)'. In the terraces of the buildings built in haste during the Partition, people in colourful shawls and muffs balance hot samosas in their hands." [1]

"Who could argue with the contentment of long afternoons in the elusive sunshine, ploughing through half a dozen oranges? The sumptuous satisfaction of aloo parathas laden with melting butter? Burrowing deep into the 10 kilo quilt and sleeping late into the freezing morning? Hot buttered rum to take to bed? Chikkis with tea … and gajar ka halwa? And oh, the illicit pleasure of bringing the quilt into the living room on a chilly afternoon and curling up on the sofa. I’m not sure what is illicit about this … but where a nighttime quilt on the bed seems warm, wholesome and motherly, an afternoon quilt on the sofa totally spells wicked indulgence." [2]

"if you can hear
the jingle of santa's sleigh bells
on the rooftop on christmas eve
and the cackle of a baby's
delighted laugh
and the sound of bird songs
on a fresh spring morning
then you will hear
what i heard
that saturday afternoon"[3]

"it is spring, and the leaves fall thick.
the leaves a thick pile every day.
on which the street dogs lie curled up every morning, against the vestigial chill of winter.
it is spring, and the new leaves burst forth on the never quite bare branches.
yellow and green existing together, the simultaneity of decay and regeneration, the poet's words/image given a poignancy that he could not possibly have seen, in climes he nver visited -
nature's first green is gold..." [4]

"It was figuring out that words like “sunny” and “warm” are supposed to have good connotations and that “rainy” and “cold” are supposed to be bad. We Mumbaikars like it when it rains. I understand Britons hating rains. But for us, it gives respite from the summer and leaves just as we start getting bored of it. Plus, we get a holiday from school." [1]

"When the rain pours and the cold wind blows and everything becomes wet, that is the time when you make your trip to the near-by Vada Pao stall. A hot Vada pao with a cutting chai is the menu to be. If you can get onion bhajias and hot chilly chatni, then its real heaven. Its fun when you stand under the tarpaulin fluttering in the wind trying hard to save your vada pao and chai from the rainwater....One of my favorite pastimes during heavy rain when going out is restricted was listening to music...I can remember two best picturised song in Mumbai rain and surprisingly both are directed by Basu Chatterjee."[2]

"My twin daughters, Mahi & Meha, saw the rains for the first time. Last year, they were not even a month old when monsoon started. No words can explain the amazing mixture of expressions on their innocent faces. The initial reaction was of a little fear, then surprise, amazement and finally joy. :) They got very excited when I streched their small hands out of the window and few drops fell on their little palms.Both of them are very fond of lights. So they were further surprised with the lightening and thunders. Everytime there was a lightening, they looked towards a tubelight waiting for it to start." [3]

"Today was perfect for a bike ride. A nice Mumbai winter day, not too biting, just cool enough to wear a jacket. The sun was beaming down, just warm enough to keep the wind from biting and not hot enough to sting my skin. The scarf I had tied over my head slipped in the first few seconds. Tying that perfect knot that won’t strangle you but won’t slip off either is an art form. And I have apparently forgotten it. The wind was teasing past, whipping stray strands across my face." [4]

* I actually have used an excel sheet!!


Blogger Full2 Faltu said...

I think the other song was "Koi roko na deewane ko" from Priyatama. Not so sure. Just got the original MP3.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006 1:29:00 PM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:35:00 PM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

Tough call. Bombay's cool sea winds v/s Delhi's autumn. Add food to that (vada pavs or parathas)...tough call. Yet...the Delhi summers have spooked me with their intensity, and compared to that, sweating in Bombay seems acceptable. So - I'm going with Bombay

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:40:00 PM

Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

"Rim jhim gire saawan", of course. The other one? Certainly not "Koi rok naa", Faltu.

Thanks for hunting out the links. Good fun.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006 10:47:00 PM

Anonymous Maya said...

Delhi, any day.

For the cups of coffee you enjoy in the winter sun.
For the variety in food, clothes and moods that the weather allows.
For the rains, which come and go, (not like the long, never-ending ones in Bombay)
For the change, the surprises..

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 11:38:00 PM

Blogger Nishith said...

i still cant tolerate delhi no matter what time of the year i go there..Mumbai always rocked..

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:02:00 AM

Blogger Nishith said...

i still cant tolerate delhi no matter what time of the year i go there..Mumbai always rocked..

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:03:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Full2, I am not sure either.

Bombay Addict, have you seen the flowers in spring and sun shine in winters? I realise that summers are tough, but I am not sure whether 45 degrees of heat is any worse than 5 degrees with humidity. Overall, I've to go with Delhi.

JAP, you're welcome.

Maya, ah. the surprises. Yes, lovely sometimes.

Nishith, my sympathies. Have you considered going to the doctor? This is a curious problem, indeed. Maybe he has some cure for this intolerance. By the way, what are the symptoms?

Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:25:00 AM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

DK2 - you know what, I think I'll go with you on this. Just because (and I know this will sound totally blasphemous) I am not a fan of the rains, and that's a time when I wish I was not in Bombay.

I agree with your pov on flowers in spring in Delhi. What springs (poor pun, not intended) to my mind is, of course, the unforgettable Amitabh and Rekha interludes in Lodi Gardens in Silsila.

There you go - you converted me.

Btw - agree with JAP on the links. Well done. IMHO, Part III is your best in this series so far. Thanks.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:36:00 AM

Blogger maverick said...

i'd go for a delhi winter anytime, mumbai's always so humid if not raining (the irritating kinds).

Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:19:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crap! Its gotta be Mumbai.. Delhi has a very harsh climate. guess all you people are the types who just sit at home and enjoy the weather. Try getting out and doing some work in Delhi.. 4 months in the year.. it is scorched by such heat and power cuts.. that true-bred Delhiites themselves get down to abusing the government for what not.. and in the other half.. it is impossible for them to get out of house before 10 and stay out later than 7.. coz the days are so small.. whereas all a Delhiite may dread is the Mumbai rains.. but you nearly never hear a mumbaiwallah complain that the rains are getting to him..
And btw.. I live in Delhi now.. used to live in Mumbai for 17 years.. still miss the city..

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:37:00 PM

Blogger Starry-eyed Shruti said...

Delhi, any day... and every one knows why :) No explanations on that one.

One of my Bombay friends happened to visit Delhi last year...and he said "You get to wear nice, cozy clothes! I love it!"

By the way, came across your blog. Really nice posts! Except for the food one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:19:00 AM


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