Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ice Relief

Global Warming is not, as I believed till now, a Greenpeace invention for getting funding. Third week of November and you can walk around in Delhi at ten in the night with just a shirt on your back without your whatever-it-is-that-freezes freezing. And let’s not even talk about Mumbai. Willis Haviland Carrier’s invention is still keeping Vijay’s sales registers ringing.

The plus for daily Mum-Del passengers is that fog hasn’t yet added to the excuse list for flight delays. The latest, which was pretty innovative I thought, when we finally landed an hour late at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport (I really feel sorry for the poor sod who has to announce that) this Wednesday morning was “We are sorry for the late arrival of the flight which was caused by the late departure of the flight from Delhi”. Nice one.

Talking about excuses. Our hero, Rahul, came up with a gem after the South Africa slaughter last night: “We can play better”. Even my para team can. But I digress. We were discussing GW. Contrary to what I am experiencing, former scientific adviser to the Prime Minister and eminent scientist Vasant Gowarikar feels that GW has not affected the Indian climatic system.

Gowarikar pointed towards the India Meteorological Departments data on cyclones and rainfall, which are indicators of GW.

‘‘If we look at the last 115 years of data on cyclones, we will find that the highest number of cyclones (10) hit the country in 1893, 1926 and 1930. If we check last 20 years’ data, the highest number of cyclones in that period, which is six, hit the Indian shores in 1992 and 1998,’’ Gowarikar said.

He then pointed out that the highest rainfall recorded in the country was in 1917, with 1457.3 cm of rainfall and the lowest was around 913 cm in 1918. ‘‘In the last 20 years, the highest rainfall was recorded in 1988 with 1288 cms while the lowest was in 2000 with 939 cms. If climate change has taken place in terms of warming, that should reflect on this data. But there is nothing to indicate the claims of warming affecting the Indian climate system,’’ Gowarikar said.

QED. Perhaps that explains the ice.

On that hot November day in Delhi, I ensured that my last meeting was at TGIF. After downing a set of beers (I had only two, another two insisted on making the hour happy) I made my way to the relief centre. As I was about to, I happened to glance down. The pot was full of perfectly formed ice. That caused a pause in normal operations. “What it is” ran through my mind. Is it that I am the only one not feeling the cold. Is Gowarikar right, after all? No answers came to mind. I started operations. Friends, I sizzled.

But the ice has been bothering me no end. If you have any Gowarikarisque explanations, please call me.

Your favourite pale liquid on-the-rocks is the promised reward.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I had a favorite beer buddy in Delhi. This was in the days I was pretending to be an entrepreneur (I gave up the day someone pointed out that a Bengali entrepreneur was an oxymoron). This pal was our mentor and helped us by picking holes (and he had an extremely sharp implement for a brain) in every plan we came up with. However, these brainstorming sessions was a flimsy wrap for very long drinking sessions.

There is this place in Asiad Village on Khelgaon Marg in the capital which was our favourite hangout. Over the years the place has metamorphosed number of times. From a long benchy (beer lao) place to a warm cozy (pitcher please) hangout to now a very steel and glass (vodka and tonic) kitty party place.

Our mentor used to travel from Noida, where he claimed he worked. We never really delved into that side of his life as long as the bubbly was paid for. The sessions had a reassuring repetitiveness about them. The two of us were the core and on different afternoons of the week the number would vary from two to five (depending on whether we were discussing brand names or intricate distribution strategies).

Once the business was dealt with, which took about half a pitcher the real business would start. Usually when we reached the fourth pitcher (this was when there was the two of us) one of us would have had enough of the long walk to the men’s and would suggest asking for the bill.

“Who said OFTR” would be the refrain from the other party. Invariably neither would have. So another pitcher (it was an insult to our belly guts to order mugs) would have to be ordered. The magic words would be said BEFORE placing the order and the bill requested. That would be the final sign to bring the business discussion to an end. And totter to our respective vehicles.

It was a good rule. The ride home did feel much better after that last one for the road.