Friday, January 14, 2011

Arctic Survival

If a market researcher were to suddenly spring out of the shrubbery and ask me to name a creature that really has life figured out, I will name the bear. Not only are bears fat and hairy and equipped with four-inch claws, which makes them almost completely immune from Delhi’s eve teasers, they also have the good sense to hibernate all the way through winter.

As someone who has just made the completely illogical move from chilling on a beach in Goa to freezing in an office in Delhi, and one who is descended from a long line of Homo sapiens rather than Ursus arctos, I have been forced to learn polar survival techniques very, very quickly. Here’s what the Survivors’ Handbook has to say on the subject of surviving extreme cold:

Do not sleep alone If you don’t have a regular sleeping partner currently, beg, borrow or steal one. Sleeping by yourself in extremely cold weather is dangerous as well as socially irresponsible. You’ll use heaters and hot water bottles and other energy consuming devices, whereas people sleeping together can pretty much steam up a room on their own. 3 degrees C is no time to stand on morality – be promiscuous if you have to. Body heat is heat, and local warming is the need of the hour. If all else fails, get a pet.

Drink plenty of fluids Especially fluids that have been properly fermented and matured. Fluids descended from grapes and certain cereals are particularly recognized for their warming qualities, and scientists agree that fluids hailing from the Cognac region of France and all regions of Scotland tend to deliver superior heating.

Exercise Moderate exercise helps keep the body warm. Repeatedly bending your elbow, like while raising a glass to your lips, does wonders in keeping the elbow joint free from arthritic pain. If the glass is filled with the right kind of fermented fluid, it will do wonders for other parts of your body as well.

Be considerate It is an established scientific fact that molecular motion slows down when temperature drops. Everything moves slower in cold weather, and this includes the thinking speed of clients and bosses, too. So you should be considerate and slow down your own output at the office. If you work less hard, it’ll put less load on the system. Simple.

Party hard Prolonged and frequent partying is recommended when the mercury slides to single digits. This is for several excellent and scientific reasons. One, when you’re at a party your intake of fermented fluids goes up. That’s good thermodynamics. Two, dancing like a maniac joggles up all your molecules and the increased motion generates heat. Three, when the music slows down, you cozy up with your partner while dancing. Proximity promotes the generation and accumulation of warmth. That’s good chemistry.

There are several other helpful hints that the Survivor’s Handbook dwells upon. You can read about various methods of acquiring and wearing warm clothes, the benefits and techniques of sharing hot baths, how to mix a Hot Toddy when no toddy is at hand, politically incorrect ways of watching a movie, how to avoid paying for your round of fermented fluids, etc.

All these are well-researched and designed to raise the over-all quality of life; but the essence of the winter survival chapter, all points considered, seems to be this: work less, party more, drink heavily and sleep around. Good, sensible, scientific advice.

I think I’m going to enjoy winter.


  1. Masterfully written, felt inebriated just reading about the fermented liquids. I have a problem with the last line though - does that mean you did not enjoy Goa???!!!

  2. Hey, it's about looking ahead. Not back at what was, but at how to have fun now that one is in Delhi. Cheeeersh!