Mumbai’s Winter and Other Delusions

Humour

Mumbai’s Winter and Other Delusions

Illustration: Palak Bansal

F

or a mumbaikar, winter is a lot like God, we don’t see it or feel it but we feel compelled to believe in it. When it comes to oxymorons, it’s common knowledge that Mumbai’s winters are right up there with “soft-spoken Gujaratis” and “sane Salman fans”. Yet every year as November rolls around, middle-class dads insist on turning off the A.C in the car by saying “Enjoy the weather,” with visible beads of sweat trickling down their foreheads. In fact, Uber-drivers from Colaba to Borivali brace themselves for winter with that mind-numbingly cliche snippet of small-talk that goes something like, “Bhai sahab, aaj kal mausam kaafi accha ho gaya hai na?”

It is exactly this kind of delusional exuberance for a virtually non-existent dip in weather conditions that represents the spirit of Mumbai.

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The SoBo dude sitting in the back manages to smile politely in response, trying not to comment on his driver’s visibly sweat-soaked armpits. As their Uber Black zooms past Marine drive, he sticks his head out of the window and takes in that familiar Mumbai winter smell.  On the promenade, his leg warmer and fur-coat wearing female counterpart is enjoying the gusts of moderately warm wind emitting from the Arabian sea.

All the people in this smog-filled, winter-less city are living proof that in Aamchi Mumbai, you can rebrand construction-dust coupled with dry clouds as “Hill-station weather” and put it on a hoarding. It is exactly this kind of delusional exuberance for a virtually non-existent dip in weather conditions that represents the spirit of Mumbai; AKA the innate ability to spot a silver lining in even the most hopeless of situations. Our faith in our governing civic body is immovable even despite fatal potholes and non-existent sidewalks. Our faith in our weather gods is undeterred by city-stalling floods and dehydration-inducing heat waves. In our quest to feel better about our urban life, we have made the spirit of Mumbai our default Instagram filter to beautify every mediocre scenario. Which is why despite Mumbai’s coldest winter day ever being 7.8 degrees, delusional Mumbaikars will brazenly promote Christmas Parties titled “White Christmas” and “Snowy New Year”. And they will actually feel the cold. Hurrah!

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