Mumbai Diaries 13 : We are closer than we think we are
Without further ado, let me get straight to the point. I’m talking about the weather; just like everybody else is… at the moment – from Canada to India and beyond perhaps.
When a dear friend of mine who lives in Chicago uploaded a post on 23rd Jan describing the ’bout of bad weather’ they were having, I prayed the bad spell would pass. The roads in that part of the world were covered knee-high with snow and wild berries were covered in ice. It did look like a scene from the movie ‘Frozen.’
A week later on 30th Jan, there was another post from the very same friend showing the wind chill across the state. Temperatures that looked more like bad marks on an exam paper with negative marking, ‘-48’, ‘-50,’ ‘-52’. Temperatures that we in the tropics are unaccustomed to hearing.
And a week after that, we here in Mumbai are having chilly weather too, unusual for the city. Friday, Feb 8th, marked the coldest day in the state of Maharashtra with temperatures ranging from 8.5°C in Mumbai to 4.6°C in Nasik. I remember this specific friend of mine, telling me sometime in October that she would send me some of the cold here, when I had complained about the Mumbai heat. That she would actually be able to do so had seemed improbable, at that point in time. But the cold has reached here, whether sent by her or not. That’s how closely connected we all are; no matter which part of the globe we live in! We can’t remain indifferent any longer.
While the cold weather lasts and since its not freezing like it is for our distant neighbors, we here in Mumbai are making the most of it. All those sweaters lying in the cupboard ready to be given away as part of ‘clearing the clutter’ (you know the rule – when you don’t use something for a year, it means you don’t need it), sprung into action. And all the big dogs look so much happier : the Great Danes, the German Shepherds, the Huskies and the St. Bernards. Don’t ask me what they are doing here in Mumbai. Any person, except their owners, can see those thick fur coats simply don’t belong here. Yet they are here, in the sweltering heat and humidity of the city. I can’t help but wonder if it is love for the animal or a status symbol – ‘Bigger the dog, richer you are.’ The canines here, I must acknowledge are totally pampered, well-fed and fat (a full-time domestic help is recruited exclusively to walk them but who invariably sits in the park with the big dogs in tow, on a leash).
I am absolutely certain these very pampered pets must want to swap positions with the street dogs for I have seen many of them straining over their leash watching their poor cousins enviously, who roam the street freely, while they, the rich ones, get pulled ahead.
Coming back to the weather, this happiness, both ours and the big pet dogs, is short-lived. The meteorological department forecasts, summer this time is going to be worse than the previous years. And as good as it currently feels, we need to be aware that this change in weather is a bad sign. Its one reason, why we humans, cannot continue behaving like the topic on ‘Global Warming’ is a hobby that one distracts oneself with, at leisure. Taking action to reduce global warming is the need of the hour. If you’re thinking what global warming has to do with the biting cold that I was talking about earlier, then here is the explanation, for those of you who do not already know it.
The reason for this very cold weather is the weakening of the polar vortex. The polar vortex in layman’s terms is the extreme cold winds that move in a circular pattern, over the poles, that are part of the atmosphere and that keep the ice over the poles from melting. Every year, the vortex gets stronger and stronger. However, when it gets weaker, then you get cold winds blowing over towards the Equator read more on polar vortex
In short, the cold winds, could likely be because of global warming and the cold air over the poles getting displaced. So, here is a request to please do your bit to reducing global warming – reducing waste, reducing usage of electricity and water, recycle and go green. All the things that you hear about on and on but may not really be doing anything about. All the things that are ear-marked for Earth day need to be done every day!
Here in Mumbai , we don’t use plastic anymore. Its been banned in the city and while it took some time adapting to it (being used to the Middle East and the immense plastic usage there. I’m not proud of it), we are very proud of being part of the plastic ban here; no straws, no plastic bags, no plastic plates. Our little bit in saving the earth for the future generations. Other than the plastic ban, we as a family control our usage of water though water is free in this part of the world. This good habit is ingrained in us thanks to our years of living in the U.A.E, where we had to pay not only for the usage but the sewage as well. And coming to electricity, since it is more expensive here than the U.A.E, we ensure we use it wisely. No to microwaves, no to A/C unless essential and yes to L.E.D lights. These are just some ways we are doing our bit – bringing the best of both the cultures we’ve lived in. Like they say, ‘it might be just a drop in the ocean’ but then again, ‘many drops make the ocean!’
Would love to hear what you are doing either individually or as a nation, to help reduce global warming or like Mr. Trump, do you think there’s just too much of a hullabaloo over nothing?
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