The weather always makes for a topic which people come down to when they don’t have anything else to say except murmur some pleasantries and to keep some polite (and obviously boring) conversation going. In fact in college, we had this superior-than-thou attitude whenever we came across anyone who could not utter a single intelligent word in the conversation and would try to make it up with weather reports. Little did I realise then, that there would come a day when I would choose the same as a topic for a post! But that’s not due to a lack of things to say on my part but because of the way the weather is behaving. More like a precocious child with a mind of its own really.
It’s true that the weather or rather the climate has been changing slowly and gradually but the past one year has raised a whole series of alarms. There are the terribly tangible ones like the Tsunami, Snowfall in Dubai and grass growing in Antarctica kinds..and then the not so tangible ones. I distinctly remember celebrating Diwali during winters i.e. one needed to wear *sweaters* or warm clothing while lighting crackers and it wasn’t as if I was at some high altitude place, the place remains the same – Delhi. But since the past few years, it’s summery and pleasant during diwali. As a kid I remember that winters used to definitely start by October or maximum by November. Since quite a few years, winters have started showing the chilly factor only after Dec 31. Lohri was supposed to mark the coldest day of winters. This particular year it was *so* warm on Lohri, it seemed that winters had actually “forgotten” to happen and on sudden remembrance that they were supposed to freeze people, they came back with a vengeance right after Lohri. Basant Panchami is supposed to mark the onset of spring, but the particular day instead marked the onset of summers. Taken unawares, I had not put on any sunscreen on that particular day and got sunburnt to my amazement! The next day I decided to take it easy on winter clothing and as I set out for office at around 8:30am, the sky suddenly went jet black as much as in late evening. It actually looked scary because it was just too dark for daytime and reminded me of complete solar eclipses. All vehicles had their headlights on, on high beam. It was impossible to see anything at 8:30 am in the day! And suddenly the expected happened. It RAINED. Like hell at that. It rained so much that the wipers of my car could not keep pace with the influx of water hitting the windshield. It suddenly got very difficult to drive. Forget driving, I almost felt as if water was hurtling inside towards me, seeping in from all edges. I almost bumped into a divider. I felt like the hero in a particular rainy scene from ‘Woh Kaun Thi’ or some such movie, where the only sound present is the ubiquitous sound of wipers and of torrential rain. The hero wasn’t able to see *anything*. Zero visibility. With such conditions, one is forced to peer closer to the windshield, screw one’s nose, frown in concentration and deduce whether the direction headed in, is indeed the same as that of the road. I somehow managed to get to office that day. Needless to say I felt foolish for having discarded my usual winter attire of jeans, thick sweater, thick jacket, thick muffler and sneakers. I had suddenly felt like emerging like a beautiful butterfly from my winter-clothing-cocoon and had ended up wearing a delicate suit with a chunni to add to the rain nuisance and open sandals, which obviously got sploshed in the muck. Learnt the lesson of not taking the weather “for granted”.
The sudden heavy snowfall in J&K and not to mention the avalanches, are also an indication of something very very wrong somewhere. Suddenly the whole of north India was now freezing. After a few more bouts of rain and chilly wind, it again looked like summers were here. Inspite of my mom telling me to get back the woolens to pack them, the once-bitten-twice-shy me didn’t. Last night we had a hailstorm again and it’s again chilly. This morning I woke up to thick white fog all around! I feel smug as I look at others shivering slightly in their sleeveless, flimsy summer dresses whilst I am adorned in a thin sweater and a chic shawl to go with it, making use of the fleeting winters before they come to a complete fullstop.
Coming back to the weather the shift is gradual but sure. If it continues at this alarming pace, it wont be long before we would have summers from October to February and ‘desert’ summers from March to September. A very frightening future that.