Growing Up

A south Indian family survives north Indian winter

If you are a South Indian and reading this, chances are you will not understand because you have never seen a winter.

If you are a North Indian, you probably know what winter is all about but don`t know what it feels to be a south Indian…so read on. The Western & Eastern Indians can just sit and watch.

As I was saying, being a south Indian during North Indian winter isn`t easy.

I remember, back in Chennai, nobody would speak of the weather. People calling you wouldn`t ask: “So, how is the weather?” for they would know the answer. It is not to say that we didn`t have four seasons in Chennai – we had a hot season, more hot season, most hot season and then the hottest and humid season.

Here in Gurgaon, we have the summer, winter, autumn and spring. Spring is the season from May onwards till August when the working class springs from one company to the other after a not-so-good appraisal.

Anyway, a week back the Rajans realized that in Gurgaon the temperatures can be as low as 25 degree Celsius! “That`s winter!” my wife Rekha cried. “I never knew it would come in unannounced,” I exclaimed.

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We had never seen winter and didn`t know how to cope with it. The same day, I went to the edge of Gurgaon, collected some firewood and brought it home. For the next one week, we burnt firewood in the middle of the drawing room and blackened the marble. Had it not been for the family living below us, whose ceiling fan had melted and started dripping we would have never known about a household appliance called room heater.

Though the house was warm now, the floors still were too cold to walk on so Rekha and I hatched a plan. We were to follow the milkman the next day morning (without his knowledge of course) and see his house. We knew he had cows and buffaloes and goats and thus would have lots of hay.

The next day morning, as soon as he gave us the customary one liter of milk we locked our house and followed him in our car. We had to travel very slow because he was on a cycle. The good ‘spy` that my wife is we managed to avoid detection.

The same night we stole hay (or straw, whatever) from his house and spread it evenly on our apartment floor. I remember my grandpa telling me that way back in the 1930s when south India used to have a winter this is what they used to do.

Now we could walk on the floor without any issue, but had a problem taking bath. How could one take bath when the outside temperature was as low as 25 degree Celsius? Back in Chennai, we used to take bath twice (morning & evening) but here, it was becoming a challenge.

I even tried heating the water in the drawing room (on the 24X7 fire we were maintaining) but hot water baths weren`t good either because after wiping ourselves dry, we would freeze in the cold.

After two failed attempts, we stopped taking bath. We don`t stink yet because it has only been a week. If it gets colder and we can`t think of any alternatives to bathing we plan to stock up Axe Effect`s Winter Cool before its price goes up. In case you didn`t know, demand for deodorants goes up in winter (and one thought sweating was less in winters!).

Pity, we are only one week into the North Indian winter. Pray for this South Indian family so that we emerge victorious at the end of the North Indian winter. If you sympathize with us please send me a mail seeking bank account details.

Note: Anybody knows how to build an Igloo? We need to save ourselves from the cold and the Gurgaon bullets.

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By Jamshed V Rajan

Jammy, as Jamshed V Rajan is affectionately called, is a wannabe stand up comedian. He has a funny take on most things but documents only some of them. If you are interested in chatting up with him, do drop him an email at or message him at +919650080255.

26 replies on “A south Indian family survives north Indian winter”

And how about this ‘North Indian'(Actually East Indian would be more appropriate but let’s not digress!) and his experience with Chennai winter? Read on.

In Dec 2000 I headed for Chennai from Bhopal, when the temperature was single digit. I took a packed a bag of woolens, and as soon as I learnt that the train has almost reached Chennai, started my multi-layer dressing routine. After all it was winter and I had to get out of the AC coach.

So, one half sleeves sweater on top of my full sleeves shirt, followed by a leather jacket. And to protect from cold exposure via ears, I strapped a muffler, a four feet woolen one, that allowed two rounds around my head. I waited for the train to stop. I noticed others were looking at me, but felt they are jealous of my new leather jacket, which I had recently purchased in Delhi.

The train stopped. I got down. I was looking for my friend who was supposed to receive me. Then I heard someone laughing aloud. It was Sudarshan, my friend wearing shorts and Tees.

And then he helpfully asked me if I would also like to have warm water for my bath once I reached his house since it was winter!!!

Can’t forget ever. And for the record I did not follow the milk wala for any secrets!!

LOL. I absolutely loathe being in the North during our Indian winters. I am from Madras too. But I love winters, its the uncomfortable feeling of not having moderate heating inside our homes that bothers me.. Too many layers of clothes, huddled, showering with tepid water. Bah!

Think u try too hard sir. I have loved ur humour but putting any effort in it makes it lose all its appeal. To me atleast.

//It is not to say that we didn’t have four seasons in Chennai – we had hot season, more hot season, most hot season and then the most hot and humid season.//


FYI, this week there was hailstorm in Chennai (Valluvar Kottam)! 🙂

very very happy if any1 reads
hi guys,
i am not sure that any1 will see this comment as its too late ,mow its 1 may 2011.but if any1 reads happy.
i am an south indian.but not frm tamil nadu. ofcourse, i had hot summers as i am frm a.p.i love winters and its difficult 4 a south indian guys to be in the cold north indian winters.but not 4 me i love winter and ofcorse,we r indians.i love north and south india very much and we r friends right.
jai hind,
i mean sharmila sonal

hai friends,
i am a south india.i am frm a.p.i like summmer season becoz we get holidays in summmer.but i and my cousin sharmila watch just north indian channels.we both like 2 have a trip in northn india. as my cousin said, after all w e r friends.we will soon visit uttarakhand/uttarnchal as we love it.
jai hind,

yes sharmila, north indians also have summer vacations. it starts at the same time it does in south india so u dont have to worry. but if you plan to travel, let me tell you that the trains and the flights wud almost already be booked full

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