My year-long-experience with Delhi Weather

I’m come from a valley city in Odisha called Damanjodi situated amidst the peaks of eastern ghats. As of now, I’ve lived in 5 different cities in India. Initially started off from a half year stint for job hunt in Bangalore, then spent quarter of the year in Chennai for training, then went to Kolkata for a 1.5 year long deputation. After that I left my first job and came back to Bangalore, for a 6 month long stint with an agency, then left for Hyderabad to work for a product company. That’s when I was hypnotized by the success stories of start ups and all the buzz and goodness of being an entrepreneur and decided to quit my job.

Needless to say, the wantrepreneur inside me din’t succeed in making an impact as it was backed with little experience and knowledge in the domain, which eventually led to frustration and finally I gave up.

That’s when I left for Delhi to join the 3rd largest eCommerce company in India. Indeed it was a moment of pride for me.

The story following is a narration of my experience with the weather there, how I vastly underestimated it and how I ended up regretting my move and left this place in frenzy.

My previous experiences with weather

I lived in a valley town where we had the privilege of enjoying cold and dry weather for most part of the year, harsh cold winters lasting for about 3-4 months where lowest recorded temperatures would go up to 0-4 degrees, and merciless cold stormy rainy days which lasted about 4-5 months.

Despite those odds, the temperature variations round the year will be in between 17-22 degrees.

I lived in Paralakhemundi for 4 years for my engineering degree. This place was totally the opposite of anything – terribly hot where the peak temperatures during summers could rise up to 47 degrees.

I remember the day when we were rehearsing in the lecture halls on 1st floor during summer days. Our project was about automatic irrigation & trespasser detection. We had programmed our heat sensors to trigger the irrigation motors if the temperature go above 40 degrees.

Although the initial objective was to do the opposite i.e. irrigate when temperature are the lowest to minimize water loss due to evaporation, but it is easy to simulate higher temperature in a lab while giving the presentations as soldering irons are often handy.

So, we turned on our apparatus and boom – the irrigation motor started buzzing and all of us were taken with shock and surprise and horror. We immediately turned the device off and started apprehending what might have gone wrong. Everyone knows how the last moment failures feel like. But thankfully, one of our mates contemplated and came with a hypothesis and suggested disconnecting the motors and debug the temperature sensors.

“Damn!”, “Curse”, and several other swear words. The display showed the temperature was around 42. And funny that one teammate was on the stand by with the soldering iron for testing. How disappointing that his effort was all set to go in vain!

Moving to Bangalore and Chennai

Moving to Bangalore was bliss. After the hardships of engineering and surviving through the weather in college, finally I was set free to live in the silicon valley of India.

Bangalore was cold, dry and pleasant. It’d often rain in the after noons and during mid nights. And the weather will totally become wow some. Food was costly. Thankfully I found some inexpensive hostels as my shelter.

Then began the job hunts. We were totally broke since most of us had little money on us. We’d walk several kilometers to catch busses, then buy discounted daily bus passes to travel to far off locations and then walk further from the bus stop to interview locations. Often times we’d miss streets and deviate several kilometers away form the target location only to arrive at the correct location after the interviews were over.

Back in Paralakhemundi, a quarter of 8pm whisky used to cost us up to 80 rupees. When compared to that liquor was cheaper in Bangalore. A full bottle of 8pm was just 200 bucks. We’d return home tired & drink all night long only to catch the earliest bus for the farthest interview location in the town.

Eventually I got a job offer. It was in Chennai. My old hostel mate Jason, who was from Goa and looked like a villain from old hindi films, told Chennai was a beautiful city. I believed him.

Now

  • If you’re in Southern part of India, never ever think about coming to Delhi. Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, or even Chennai – It’s way better there. I have lived & I’ve witnessed it. I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.
  • If you’re underestimating Delhi’s winter – you had never been so wrong in your life.
  • If you say that I’m over-reacting, I’d say ‘I like the sarcasm in your voice’. I’ll love to see you freak out when you really come here and feel it. And, I must mention – it’ll be my pleasure. Thank you.

Ok, let’s start.

Leaving Hyderabad

So, I had my stint at Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad in these 2-3 years. Now, it’s time for the Rajdhani, the National Capital, New Delhi. I boarded my plane from Shamshabad(Hyderabad International Airport, which appears to be somehow owned by GMR). Spice jet flies an Airbus A320 from here.

It was partly cloudy and it had mildly rained when I left my room from Hyderabad around 10:30 in the morning. It was 22-28 degrees probably. Because I remember the usual temperature during August was 29 degrees if it doesn’t rain.

The planes took off at around 13:30, travelled thousands of kilometers and landed at 15:20, 10 minutes ahead of its scheduled landing time. I was immensely happy that I just flew all over Delhi, CR park, saw Qutab Minar, Raj Bhawan (The president’s place), Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place, residents call it CP & foreigners like us call it Rajiv Chowk) from hundreds of feet above. It feels wonderful to see and land at a well inhabited place. It was unlike any other city’s airports where people live scantily in 10-20km radius of the airport.

Reaching Delhi

The flight attendant speaks her de-boarding monologue – Thanks for using services of Spice Jet. We’ve over-delivered on our promises today on keeping you on time as we landed 10 minutes before schedule. The temperature outside is about 38 degrees… ( Did I hear it right? No, it might be 28, which I might have heard wrong).

I came out. A gust of hot air blew by my face. “Oh, it might be the engines, they might be terribly hot since we flew a very long distance on an afternoon”.

I walked few meters away, no difference in temperature. “Ohkay, she was telling it right, it is indeed 38”. It literally blew my mind. How terrifyingly hot it was? Really.

– Let’s end this story here about the summers and let’s head straight to winters –

4 october, 2014

Dussehra ended yesterday and I started feeling cold.
It was not cold until yesterday. Alright, it is an indication that Winter is knocking on the doors. Few days passed by and we celebrated Diwali. Now, it was easy to walk from Govindpuri metro to my room ~1.5km. I could sit in my room comfortably and work. It was not the case few weeks back. My room used to be a hot gas chamber, a greenhouse rather.

Few weeks pass by and we’re in November

Ok. It is literally cold now. You need geysers (water heaters) else you can forgo bathing. People have started wearing sweaters. Although I did not quite need it then as I spent most of my time either at home, or office.

I called my friend, Chhayakant. He had been in Northern India since 2010-11. He had spent 2 years in Pilani, Rajasthan during his M.Tech days at BITS. Since over a year, he had been living in IIT Delhi Campus for his Ph.D. He knows the weather here perfectly.

Yeh toh bas trailer hai, asli movie abhi baaki hai mere dost

He describes – “What you’re saying cold, is just the beginning. Yeh toh bas trailer hai, asli movie abhi baaki hai mere dost (Translated: It is just the trailer (of winter), the real movie is still due my friend).

He went on saying – It is not even the trailer yet and you’re saying it is cold, it definitely means you’ll be blown away when you see the real picture. By the way, how do you go to office, have you bought sweaters or not?

I said – No, I don’t really need one. I spent most of my time either at home, or office. I usually wake up around 9 or 9:30, by the time when the sun is up and it is not cold anymore. I go to office late around 10:30 or 11:00 and it is not usually cold by that time.

Chhaya – Let 15 December come, and let’s talk then. I want to see your confidence then.

Me – Confidence? In what?

Chhaya – Sun, the way you said that you wake up comfortably after 9 when the sun is up – that. In December, you’ll literally see no Sun. It’ll be all foggy and cloudy around and you can not distinguish if you woke up during morning hours or afternoon. There won’t be any difference at all. More over, the temperature will remain almost constant – if it is 10 degrees in the morning, then expect 11 max during after noon.

I could not believe that, until Christmas came.

10th December

Chhaya was right. It is getting cold terribly. 15 degrees, terrible man. I bought sweaters and hoped I will survive. I was still happy that I could still see the Sun 🙂

It was impossible to sit on a or work from home. Better stay in office as long as you can. Realized jeans or trousers don’t work. You need to get thermo-coats instead.

24th December

It was 24th December afternoon and hell yeah, to my surprise, at 12 noon, it was cloudy. God knows where the cloud came from. It was as if I came too early to office, like 7 in the morning.

On 26th December, it rained. Unbelievable, yet true. Retreating monsoons FTW.

As the days passed by, the temperature kept falling. 10 degrees and I was literally crying out. It was impossibly difficult to come out of the blanket during mornings. You can see smoking coming out from your mouth as you breathe. It was time, one really needed to buy oneself a room heater. I did. I could not sit miserably inside blankets all day.

By 1st of Jan, it plummeted to 2 degrees. It kept getting worse. And, yes, it was the real “show”, that my friend was talking about.

Now

It is now 15th January already and it has not gotten any better. Temperature still remains between 9-15 degrees. I’m eagerly waiting for February for these conditions to get better.

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