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Jab We Met the Kolkata weather

Corporate comedian Vikram Poddar calls the Kolkata weather more fickle than his audience

Vikram Poddar | Published 20.03.23, 03:28 PM

Amit Datta

The dry spell is over. Not mine, just the weather.

I read somewhere about the curious case of CMEs or Coronal Mass Ejections, which are large twisted rope-like expulsions from the surface of the sun. It is possible the flares were aimed directly at Kolkata over the last few days for there could be no other explanation for the sweltering heat baking the city until recently.


I remember visiting the city with a (now ex) girlfriend in April once and the heat was higher than anything that the passion of our relationship could have possibly generated. A visit to Victoria Memorial was spent appreciating the air-conditioning more than any visit down memory lane. A walk down boipara in sweltering humidity had us spouting Shakespeare, “For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” The other thing we stirred into ourselves was a delicious Daab Sherbet from Paramount. Then we waited for the Uber to arrive with more desperation than our board exam results. Kolkata heat has a way of making you feel like your body has become a #nofilter version of itself.

A couple spouting Shakespeare in boipara

A couple spouting Shakespeare in boipara

AI Art

‘Kalbaisakhi are violent but intoxicating storms, like the Bengali girl you may have dated’

The Enforcement Directorate, having made little progress on the state’s ongoing education scam, was about to investigate this extended dry spell of 139 days, when the rains thankfully lashed the city on Friday.

The showers brought with them the thrill that comes with the expectation of Kalbaisakhi or the Nor’westers that hit the coast of Bengal before the Bengali month of Baisakh (early April). These are violent but intoxicating storms, much like the Bengali girl you may have dated.

On Sunday, when it was still the hour of ghoom in my room, I awoke to that heady fragrance of fritters frying in mustard oil, wafting in from my neighbour’s kitchen window in South 24 Parganas. I don’t know how they do it but if they are prepping for chaa-telebaja or khichuri-topse-fry, it’s going to rain. I follow that nasal cue more strongly than the Met prediction, where prediction and reality never meet in a flop version of Jab We Met.

‘My choice as an average Kolkata resident is to be drenched in sweat or drenched in rain’

In a relief from the heat, I expect many memes about people finally celebrating the arrival of the monsoon… for about a couple of days. Then they will be replaced with posts whining about the merciless rains. The way I see it, my choice as an average Kolkata resident is to be drenched in sweat or drenched in rain. To have my feet burnt from the hot road, or my socks wet from accidentally plunging into a pothole while trying to walk on the accidental piece of road between the potholes.

Over the years, with climate change, the weather has become more and more erratic — like the drinking water supply in the Sunderbans. I was going to say power supply but we haven’t had load-shedding in a while and by load-shedding I don’t mean getting rid of that bhuri.

But one must change with the times. One can do the afternoon siesta in summer but it is a little harder to manage when the thunder is screaming away at you like hawkers in Burrabazar. I’m reminded of a Laurel & Hardy cartoon where Laurel wears a cap and sunglasses but also couples it with gumboots and an umbrella. As a Marwari, that is also how I am preparing for the equal likelihood of both inflation and recession.

Perhaps Harvey Two-Face will feel at home in the duality of Kolkata weather.

The author is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.

Last updated on 20.03.23, 03:28 PM

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