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It's cold in India.

This is from Jug Saraiya in The Times of India. Yes, yes, it's weather not climate. But funny all the same.

Why are we sleeping in the refrigerator?·I asked Bunny. We're not sleeping in the refrigerator; we're sleeping in our bedroom, as we normally do, she replied. This conversation took place during the recent cold wave that swept north India, and many other parts of the world. In Haryana, where we live, the temperature went down to 0.6 C, making not just the bedroom but all the rooms of the house feel like the inside of a fridge. The freezer compartment of the fridge.' Teeth chattering in Morse code i marvelled at this unique phenomenon of global warming. How had this global warming - which was melting the Arctic ice cap and giving polar bears heatstroke - all of a sudden become a global colding? What next? Would they schedule the skiing and ice-skating events of the forthcoming Winter Olympics in the Thar desert in mid-July?

However, environmentalists soon came up with a phrase which explained why the planet was freezing over even as it was heating up; it wasan example of what they call Extreme Weather Events (EWEs). Thanks to global warming the Earth would increasingly experience extremes of weather; unusually hot hot waves, unusually cold cold waves. As we huddled in front of a feebly glowing electric heater, both of us bundled up in woollies, Mill the dog and I mused on the wondrous laws of Nature which could turn global warmth into global freeze, all as part of the day's work and no overtime either. How cool-or how globally warm? - was that. How cool indeed, Mill yowled in acknowledgment, an icicle forming on the tip of her nose. As we shivered and shuddered in sympathetic unison, it struck me that. it wasn't only the meteorological climate that was susceptible to EWEs; if anything, the political climate was even more susceptible to EWEs, except that in its case the W in EWEs stands not for Weather but for Whether, as in whether or not particular politicians are or aren't going to do whatever it is they've said or not said they will do or not do.

Take the Congress-led UPA government. When it fIrst assumed office, it had gone about initiating economic reforms like bushy-tailed squirrels gathering nuts in May, putting roller skates on the Hindu rate of growth and
sendingitzippingalongat9% a year. Then all of a sudden it had sat down on its thumbs and gone into  hibernation, letting the HRG (Hindu rate of growth) fall back to a limping 5%. Economy? Reform? What dat? Then, again without warning, it had once more perked up and gone into reform overdrive. FDI in retail. Rail fare increase. Fuel price hike.

Political EWEs, Extreme Whether Events, all of them. You don't know - and neither does UPA-ll - whether it's serious about reforms or is going to drop them again before 2014. Similarly, the BJP doesn't know whether it's for or against NaMo as PM. Mayawatiand Mulayam don't know whether they're pro or anti UPA-ll. Mamata doesn't know whether it's the Marxists, the Maoists, the capitalists, or the cartoonists who are the biggest conspirators against her, so she's declared all of them Poriborton Enemies No. 1. Extreme Whether Events, the whole lot.

Back in Haryana's Extreme Weather Event, I decided to sleep in the refrigerator. It'd be warmer. I opened the fridge door. Someone was already inside. It was Mill, snugly warm in sleep. I shut the fridge. It could have been much worse. Instead of Mill, it could have been our neighbourhood neta, seeking shelter from the vagaries of Extreme Whether Events.

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Reader Comments (11)

I woul like to invite Jug round for dinner. We are having Cornish pasties with mashed potatoes and peas. In my experience Indians love a good pastie (no I am not joking, it is true, I think the lack of heavy spicing comes as a relief). The trouble is it is very cold here too. Hey Jug, get your butt on a bird and join me in freezing Anglesey where there are plenty of pasties.

Jan 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

"Teeth chattering in Morse code "

dit, dit, dit, dah, dit, dah, dit dit, dah, dah, dah which is

Jan 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMyron Mesecke

Priceless! But does Jug not realise that if India stops burning fossil fuels it is going to get even colder?
We must bring these temperatures down!

Jan 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Thompson

New York Times June 23 1890

Is our climate changing? The succession of temperate Summers and open Winters through several years, culminating last Winter in the almost total failure of the ice crop throughout the valley of the Hudson, makes the question pertinent. The older inhabitants tell us that the Winters are not as cold now as when they were young, and we have all observed a marked diminution of the average cold even in this last decade.

Jan 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Many years ago I remember waking on a cold foggy morning in Delhi to read in the Times of India that the previous night low of 2 degrees C had killed 125 of the folks living on Delhi's streets. Not so far away poor mountain folks were happily surviving overnight temperature of -20 C, yet a two week long cold wave across the northern plains was killing hundreds at temperatures above freezing.

Jan 28, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernieL

`Extreme whether events` gotta love that one.LMAO.
We should adopt it asap.

Jan 28, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterbanjo

Whilst the temperature of 0.6 C is not particularly cold to us in Britain with our insulated houses and warm clothing, it is absolutely perishing for those in normally hot climates. A few years ago I visited a town in the Brazil on the tropic of Capricorn during a winter cold snap. It was 5 C at night. The houses, even with gas heaters were perishing cold, as they are designed to keep cool in the normal heat.

Jan 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

The 'neta' in the last paragraph is a word that encompasses those of the political/bureaucrat class, usually on the take, and keen to keep the peasants where they belong.

neta brings to mind a slimy, porky, kurta pajama wearing, Gandhi topi wearing, smiling man with his hands perpetually giving you a namaste with his shoulders in a hunch. His fingers will be filled with huge rings for astrological purposes, and a massive thick gold chain around his neck under his kurta.

The British netas are more discreet

Jan 29, 2013 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

3:21 PM | Jack Thompson. Jack you have to understand that anthropogenic global warming hot air causes the north pole to melt and blows all the cold air south. When we stop the globe warming then all the warm air at the poles will blow back towards the equator and push all the cold air back to the poles which can freeze over again.
I hope that helps.

Jan 29, 2013 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Campbell

Global warming seems to be a hypothesis that can't be falsified. If it gets warmer it's true, if it stays the same it's true and if it gets colder, it's still true.

Jan 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

I expect frost in the warmer lowlands could cause significant crop failures as well as hypothermia to the unprepared.

Jan 29, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

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