There’s a chill in the air tonight.
When someone from Mumbai says that, you have to think differently. Don’t automatically assume it’s cold here. The temperature has dropped just enough that we don’t perspire while watching TV. The ceiling fans in most places in the city will run at 4, instead of 5. Today is the day most beer-drinkers shift to rum or some other spirit. Beer is a summer drink. Which means we all drink beer 10 months in a year. It’s very unlikely that any Mumbai resident has warm clothes, unless she travels. Also, the drop in the temperature is often imperceptible. So we whip out the weather apps on our phones, and talk of the cold in terms of temperature. If a friend calls you from Mumbai, and says, “It’s 23 degrees C here!” — you should engage in the conversation. Be sympathetic. It’s a big deal for us.
From the time the Internet came along, and then mobiles, I’ve always wondered what the big deal was, about weather apps. Apart from the three-odd months of monsoon that we get, nothing changes in this city, in terms of the weather. During the monsoons, we assume that it will rain and carry our umbrellas. Not that they are effective though, given the kind of rain we get. And most of us don’t mind getting wet in the rain. It warm, unlike in London, where the rain is cold. We don’t check weather apps. We check how the locals are running.
Long ago, I was in London, during a December. My Mom called me from Mumbai: It’s 19 degrees! I cursed myself. I should have been in Mumbai. While I was enjoying a snowfall in the UK, I wished I was in my city experiencing 19 degrees. I love winters, but I love my city more. Seven years in my city, since that call, and not once have we gone below 20 degrees. Damn! World over zero degrees C is a standard. In Mumbai, we maintain it at 20 degrees. Anything below that is a cause for celebration and extended conversations.
Since this city has no winter, as such, we make up the winter. It may sound silly to you, but we like the 2 degree drop in temperature.
We call it winter.