HEAT IS ON: John Terry, the England soccer captain, goes shirtless after a Chelsea game on Thursday
Mamata Banerjee, on becoming West Bengal chief minister, promised she would make Calcutta more like London — and precisely at this point in time she has delivered, though perhaps not in quite the way she might have envisaged.
Still, hers is a remarkable achievement.
We all know you can do anything with statistics but at the time of writing, the temperature in London is 10 degrees Celsius — the same as in Calcutta.
Is it a coincidence or it is deliberate?
Will Mamata claim: “See, I promised — and I have delivered. This is the Trinamul policy on temperature.”
I can imagine the editors on Calcutta newspapers reaching (over cups of lukewarm tea) for their box of clichés: “Didi delivers — but is this a degree too far?”
In the end, it really is a matter of degree. When the temperature in London soars from 0 to 10, we feel hot, hot, hot.
Off comes the woolly hat, the scarf, the overcoat, the first sweater. Meanwhile, if the temperature in Calcutta dips from whatever it was to 10, it must feel perishing. You can’t turn on the central heating or throw an extra couple of logs on to the open fire and warm yourself with a nice mince pie and glass of mulled wine.
So, the shivering folk of Calcutta are best advised to don the garments we are shedding — metaphorically speaking, as it were.
Recommended for men: two genjis (preferably clean), an internal sweater, shirt, tie, the first external sweater, another sweater on top of that, thicker trousers possibly over long johns, two pairs of socks, shoes that don’t let in water, on with the overcoat, wrap a scarf round your neck, and pull on a hat because heat is lost through the top of your head.
For women: much the same though stylish designer wear somehow keeps out cold better, research has shown.
Don’t forget to rub some expensive cream on your face so you glow with health.
Fine, you can now take a brisk walk from Dattabagan Mor to Belgachhia Metro. And think back on how you used to whinge: “Oh maa, ki gorom porechhe!”
Incidentally, there is no excuse for not taking a bath — do so without gorom jol to show you went to public school.
Remember, being hot or cold can be a state of mind. Those complaining a lot will feel the cold much more.
Meanwhile, Bengalis preparing for Christmas in England have an idyllic vision of their beloved Calcutta — Belgachhia under a foot of snow; icicles hanging from the windows in Central Avenue; children having a snowball fight on the Maidan; your breath hanging heavy in the air; Shyambazar silent after a blizzard; and Didi skating on thin ice as she makes her way to Writers’ to work for the uplift of the frozen masses. But she discounts rumours of a thaw with “Tata Babu”.
From the Bengalis here, to the good folk of Calcutta, a Merry London Christmas.
Pass the fish fry, please.
What are you doing to beat the London-like chill in Calcutta? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org