This year, Bangladesh and Dhaka's winter has been tough. At least the sound of complaints is high, thanks to social media and the general nature of Bangladeshis. I don't know about the temperature levels but I fear the heat far more and have horrible memories of last year's long hot summer, the hottest since records were kept or whatever.

However, things will get worse in the 2024 summer and I am quite pissed off at the prospect of heat and sweat. As someone once said after the cold war was supposed to have ended: "Man, the hot war coming is far worse." Please weep as freely as you wish, summer is going to be unleashed soon.


I have not seen Moscow's winters but what I saw in early March days in 1996 was good enough for me. It was just plain very bad cold when I arrived but the weather didn't get warmer as the days went by. I was once walking past the Kremlin with a friend, a Bangladeshi living in Moscow with a wife from a central Asian affiliate of the still intact Soviet Union.

It was so cold -minus 5 I guess- and miserable that I barely looked at that silly building next to a graveyard. I hoped the Moscow cold got them all. I saw a newly married couple standing near the graves and laid flowers on the burial tombstones and there was silent drama on but I missed it all. I was just interested in pushing on towards the Metro which was rumored to be heated but as luck would have it another drama ensured and that is another story but I had to stand outside and shiver for another fifteen minutes before I could enter the warmish shelter and realize the world had other people too.

The next day it snowed and at least watching the famous snowfall in Moscow gives people some bragging rights. I mean you can't pass a piece of Russian novel without a Moscow snow scene so I did get to see snow in Moscow and like everything weatherly can't figure out why there is so much noise about it. Snowfall itself is silent and it's the drunks who slip and fall on the pavement that make the noise.


A Kolkata street astrologer once told me without any prompting that I was on my third birth and would have another soon. My first birth was in ancient India close to Nepal or whatever and I was a teacher of Vedas. Apparently I was very angry at some lazy student and slapped him and he died.

That being rather impolite, I paid the price by having to swing around the celestial universe without a ticket back for a long time. For me it was the other way around. I was denied birth. The second birth was much better and partially redeemed. Nevertheless that might explain why I am drawn so much to Kathmandu. Wonder what happened to the student I slapped and killed?

The mornings would be slightly uncomfortable as the portable heater worked well but soon turned the room very warm but once it was shut down the chill wriggled back soon enough. So a coldish sleep. The taps would freeze though it was linked to the solar heated water tank but still not too bad. Zero and minus1 or 2 was fine and rooms were comfortable at home and in the office.

I loved walking on the streets feeling a sense of unexplained affinity with the city and its people. I really did feel I knew them from my instincts and can't still explain this feeling. But that nagging sense of belonging has never left me and even the last time I was there seven years back I felt the same.

Winter and Maobad and bleeding streets

I would often walk down to the wine shop near the gate of the Thamel city and chat with the shopkeeper. He knew I didn't drink and accepted me as a curious foreigner. Winter was good for his business and he was in a jollier mood. The time was the peak of the Maoist insurgency and many were anxious if not scared. But he wasn't.

"Ah, the Nepalese, they will never accept Maobad. These Maoists have already condemned alcohol and that is bad. People like their alcohol and they won't like anyone coming between them and their glass. It will fail even if they gain power." I would walk back home which was close by and he would always say, "be careful." Just a throw away phrase yet it still rings in my mind.

His political analysis was rather biased I would agree but he was right that Maoism never took root in Nepal. Such an affectionate winter in the year I was there.

But I had also spent a few days of winter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where a war was still on and the city was split into three parts, each under the control of different tribes and groups. I saw violence flare, people scream and run and watching it all from the steps of Hotel Ghion I had realized winters are different for different people and the hues of the sun can easily become the colours of raw blood.

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