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Mumbai near North Pole

Forgive me for not writing last week. It wasn?t because I hadn?t anything to say.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2006 03:18 IST

Forgive me for not writing last week. It wasn’t because I hadn’t anything to say. In fact, having filled in my performance appraisal forms and realised that it is extremely unlikely that the boss types will hike my salary from its present depressed circumstances, believe me, I had lots to talk about.

But halfway through my exploration of time pass things to do when you’re poverty-stricken, I had to stop and conduct a REAL investigation. There seems to be a situation with the weather.

Apparently, there’s a howling blizzard of Arctic storm proportions in Bombay and the temperature’s down to -273 degrees C. And — this is the odd thing — no one’s talking about it. In fact, I wouldn’t even have known that the ice age had begun if my trained journalist’s eye hadn’t spotted these subtle contradictions:

1. The weather bureau tells us that the temp’s 33 degrees, but all over the city, women are snugly wrapped in pashmina shawls.

2. The sun’s so strong that you can’t so much as change into your nightie at bedtime without getting an all-over tan, but young men are wearing woollen caps and jackets.

3. A new shoe shop opened just a couple of weeks ago, advertising its spring / summer collection, but instead of sandals, it stocks fur-covered and fur-lined knee-high boots. The kind you wear when your name is Nanook of the North and you’re trudging back to the ol’ igloo through neck-deep snow, carrying the walrus that’s going to be all your meals for the six months of winter in the Arctic Circle.

You see? Something very odd is going on here, and I’m sure you’ll understand why I couldn’t stop last week to tell you about sites like comics.com, ucomics.com, comicspage.com and other such frivolous things. I had to investigate the weather.

It wasn’t very hard to do. First I bludgeoned my way into a Virar Fast at peak hour and confirmed, by way of standing with my nose in someone’s armpit and someone else’s nose in mine, that it is, indeed, summer.

But a good journalist needs to examine all possible angles. So off I went to the BMC to find out if Bombay is still part of the Indian sub-continent, or whether all the digging they’ve been doing loosened the city’s foundations so that we detached and are currently adrift somewhere near Antarctica. Nope, said the BMC, Bombay is still part of India. Finally, testing my own experience as a coldie (a person who leaps into seven layers of woolly clothing when the temperature drops below 28 degrees), I marched into the hysterically air-conditioned shoe shop with the fur-lined boots and gazed at the boots for five minutes. Yep. In spite of icy blasts from the air-conditioning unit (temperature definitely below 28 degrees), I felt no urge to stick my feet into the boots. All I wanted was enormous amounts of ice-cream and a very cold shower.

So here are the facts, people. Bombay is not, in fact, in the grip of a strange weather phenomenon. Instead, it’s suffering a severe attack of Fashion.

Beneath the equator where the weather’s all topsy-turvy, designers are showing their fall / winter collections. And in all the confusion caused by the creation of the LFW and the IFW out of the erstwhile LIFW, we seem to have lost our bearings. Not to mention our heads. We think we’re in Australia when in fact we’re still here, just above the Tropic of Cancer, and we’re going to need therapy on a Goan beach in May before we return to our senses.

But if the boss types are reluctant to let you go to Goa for a month in May, I suggest you head to your computer and type this url into your address bar: gofugyourself.typepad.com. Here you will find graphic descriptions of the fashion follies of famous people, with accompanying pictures, that will hopefully show you where you’re going wrong, if not actually tell you how to get it right. And if you’re still under the impression that it’s winter, there’s a loony bin in Ranchi that offers some nice, warm, very stylish straitjackets. Go on, get one. It’s the latest fashion statement.