I live and work in Kolkata, one of the metropolitan cities in India. Now, of all the things my city is famous for, cold winters ain’t one. And this winter, well, if it gets any colder, there’ll be snow, I think.

Without going into the climate-debate, I would rather concentrate on saying how this affects my life. Right now, I am gearing up for an examination, which means that I am supposed to stay up late, burn the midnight oil and also get up early and hit the books when the early birds are still in their beds. Unfortunately, with this extremely cold winter, doing both of them is an ordeal. While there are few things more enjoyable than lying in bed, warm and cozy, under a pile of quilts and blankets, it is something which steals very precious time away from the morning hours of study. Getting out of bed is a nightmare. The cold hits me like an electric shock everyday.


And work. The days I pull the morning shift, I end up running around as early as 7 AM. believe me, the sun is not even out. The drive through the foggy roads, with near zero visibility is a potentially fatal one, the cold is bitter, biting, and the patients, well, the ones who are conscious hate to be prodded awake so early on for a pre-rounds examination!

Another thing which I realize is that my hands go VERY cold in wintry mornings. What with all the hand washings in cold water between patients and the weather itself being such a nagging, biting cold, they tend to go really cold.

cold hands cartoon

While there are no signs of the cold abating, one can only hope that the sun gets out, and this chilling wave stalls. But then again, give me a couple of months and I will soon be cribbing about the awful summer in Kolkata, and longing for the wintry break.

Reminds one of the great Bard’s words:

Under the greenwood tree
     Who loves to lie with me,
     And turn his merry note
     Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
     Here shall he see
     No enemy
    But winter and rough weather.

Skeptic Oslerphile. PhD Student in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Past: 1) Public Health Scientist and Program Manager, Translational Global Health Policy Research Cell, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. 2) Scientist, Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases; 3) Senior Research Associate, Public Health Foundation of India. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

6 comments on “COLDkata

  1. cribbing for the summers huh?? well i guess this year’s dropping mercury has made us that desperate…. even i wake up every morning at 5:30 to go for my driving!! it does feel like torture!


  2. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable your hands must get with so many washings–do they get chapped, at all?


  3. Does your hospital not have warm water for hand washing?


  4. You’ve painted a nice word picture of not just the cold, but how it affects your work and your studies. Very relatable!


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