December 15, 2005

Of sub zero temperatures and survival guides...

The cold has hit a new low. It has become unbelievably cold in Gurgaon. Though it is a bit of a chore to dress up appropriately and take the necessary precautions so that tropical freaks like me dont exfoliate, the experience has been great. The maximum that my exterior has been subject to has been the cool environs of Matheran, Mahabaleshwar and the summer 'cold' of Nepal. This winter just a few hundred kilometers from the Shivalik (the foothills of the Himalayas) is a new thingie for me. The weather forecast has been sub zero at -3 to 0 degree range for the coming week. So I am told by an email shot off to the entire batch by the benevolent Singla.

Winter here means layering your skin with moisturisers so that it doesnt look like you seen a ghost or rather people mistake you for a ressurected being. (Dehydrated skin can give you a ghostly look). It also means wearing heavy clothing. Something new again for the equitorial me. Jackets over sweatshirts over Tee shirts over vest over skin is a must to prevent shivering. Also one has to supposedly wear thermal 'inners'. The first time I heard the term I thought it was some gizmo made from fundoo materials with heating properties. Looking at the model on the cover of the pack at the store I decided against it. He looked more of a ballet dancer. My shorts serve me better.

There are 3 zones of contact where you can 'get' cold. First its the ears... If not properly shielded with a monkey cap, shawl, etc. the winds of Rajasthan that blow with gay abandon over the plains of Haryana can give you a pain in the head. Second its the feet... here it is advisable to have them covered with socks or better still wear shoes. Inspite of all this they have the tendency to freeze your toes and boy can that hurt. Last but most important of all are the family jewels (at least for the guys... dunno abt the gals ;-p ...) Keep these guys reasonably warm and you can rest assured that they will keep all other fraternity guys warm. I have already explained the futility of the thermal wear.

Another point of caution.. DO NOT wash hands and then directly launch into the open. They hurt bad. My palms have been hurting coz in a display of scant respect for the winter air, I waltzed out of the washroom with wet hands and as the temperature of my palms reduced exponentially I felt a sharp surge of pain. It takes a long time to go. So beware!!!

Well for a guy nothing can be as irritating as dandruff problems. I have never, I repeat never, ha dandruff problems in my life. Here with the onset of the winters my scalp has chosen this occassion to make up for all the years of my existence. Every morning I play this silly game. It's called 'ScalpScratcher'. I vigourously scratch my head to shake of the dandruff that builds there over the past 24 hours. Mom says that I must oil my hair and wash it regularly. Alas! the oil that I use has solidified. I have to place the bottle under hot water and even after that effort all I get is the equivalent of flatulence from the blocked nozzle.

They say that this is not the least. The mercury is yet to fall to its lowest. The locals are awaiting the fog. They say its colder then, and claim that visibility is so poor it is limited to a few metres. I havent seen much of fog. Or was it mist?? Frankly I dunno... but what I know is that the winters here are a great experience. Just as the lusty showers of Mumbai, the winters of Delhi (and surrounding areas) have a charm of their own.

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