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Winter Summer

Paromita VohraThere is so little we can speak of without offending or confusing each other, it is my feeling we should just talk about the weather. Not that the weather can’t be contentious too, although not so much as Vijay Mallya’s, sorry I meant Narendra Modi’s (sometimes I get confused because of the suits and overwhelming white hair and fiddling while burning stuff) Wharton abortion.

It seems people somehow find it hard to compute Mr Modi’s growth story with his genocide-is-a-passionate-response-to-life-story and feel those nice golden growth coins come only with one side. Quite different from the Met department as evinced by their last message in which they announced: “Summer is here but winter has not yet gone.”


Illustration/ Amit Bandre

This is not out of character. The Met department usually speaks in complex codes, especially around the monsoon — saying it is here when it is actually there and then, suddenly, the other way round. It’s possible there are hidden messages to be decoded here, but that’s another story.

Like those who believe in aapro Gujarat growth story, I too believe that the Met department knows that we can’t handle the real truth about the rains. Which is that they will be there, but that perhaps all rain is not just rain, like all growth is not just, simply, growth, without a how and wherefore and that, just like there is rain in Andheri West while Andheri East is dry, so too growth may be unevenly distributed on two sides of the same shiny highway of progress.

So what the Met department doesn’t tell us, they do for our own good and secure future I trust. Maybe they are like a strong father figure who doesn’t want us to bunk work simply because a few thousand people of a community were killed, sorry I mean, because there’s going to be some monsoon flooding. No, I don’t think that’s the same as fascism. Is it?

It’s just that, like with all oracular utterances, there is an aspect of samajhne vale samajh gaye, jo na samjhe are living in the past. Anyway, this time the Met department clearly feels we should handle a complex story. Because it’s not as if winter goes today and summer comes tomorrow, na. There is a long changing of the guard, between cold cold heart and hot hot growth, a smooth cross-fade you do not notice although you know it is there, between the pyjamas and the pants.

A cross fade may feel like one track where there are really two, sort of like life and death, murder and wealth. The success of a success story lies in how deftly you handle the switch as Mr Modi is figuring out. People say at such moments you get strawberries and mangoes at the same time in the market. It can be hard to choose between the Red of the strawberries and the Saffron of the mangoes sometimes.

Sure your skin prickles when you are out, when you feel two winds blowing at the same time, pretending to carry the same answer. On the threshold of the changeover you get that feeling, like maybe there’s a trick abroad, or like you are forgetting something very important. Ya, could be your umbrella, could be a pogrom.

It may be hard to put your finger on it at the time — it is easy to forget winter when summer’s here, to imagine winter won’t be back. But that would be silly.
Because you know, the weather changes only for a while before it goes back to being its other self.

Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at www.parodevi.com.

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper. 

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