Sunday, Apr 21, 2024 22:45 [IST]

Last Update: Saturday, Apr 20, 2024 17:09 [IST]

Rising Temperature

Mrinal Chatterjee

Window Seat 

Few weeks ago, Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha became the 6th hottest city in Asia with 43.5 degree Celsius temperature. It was followed by Kal Baisakhi, also known as Nor'westers, (a weather phenomenon that occurs primarily in the Indian subcontinent during the months of April and May. It is characterized by rapid changes in weather, including strong winds, lightning, thunderstorms, and rainfall) that brought respite by bringing the temperature down. In fact in some places of Odisha it brought down the temperature to the level of late winter-early spring.

Post Eid the temperature started increasing rapidly. So much so that the Odisha Government declared three days closure of schools beginning 18 April. It has already imposed restrictions on the engagement of the labourers  and workmen during peak summer hours from 11 am to 3 pm.

The increasingly hot and humid weather conditions and prolonged heat waves are making life uncomfortable in most parts of India including Odisha where I have been living for over half a century.

Columnist’s Day

18 April was Columnist’s Day. A columnist is a person who writes for publication in a series, creating an article or several short pieces (like this column has) that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns can be written on any subject and any style. 

Unlike a journalist who reports facts and events, a columnist aims to persuade, entertain, or inform their readers with their opinions, anecdotes, or analysis.

I have been writing columns in English and Odia for over four and half decades in several publications. 

On this day I must thank all the editors who have given me the opportunity and space.

Himachal Pradesh



Himachal Pradesh, fondly called as the Devabhoomi was created as a province of India on April 15, 1948 with the merger of 30 small princely hill states with Shimla as its capital. Himachal Pradesh occupies a region of scenic splendour in the western Himalayas, offering a multi textured display of lofty snow-clad mountains, deep gorges, thickly forested valleys, large lakes, terraced fields, and cascading streams.  The city of Shimla was the summer headquarters of pro-independence British viceroys. At an elevation of about 7,100 feet (2,200 metres), one of the largest and most popular mountain resorts in the country. 

One of my most fond memories revolves around Chamba, perhaps the loveliest valley of Himachal. The district has Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Chamba Town, Pangi and Bharamour as main tourist destinations. There are five lakes, five wildlife sanctuaries and countless temples. Founded during the late 6th century, Chamba was one of the oldest princely states of India. Its last ruler Lakshman Singh signed the instrument of accession to the Indian Union on 15 April 1948. 

 I went there in 1991 with my three month pregnant wife for research work on the Water Mill (locally called Gharat). We stayed there for about two weeks. We were overwhelmed by the pristine beauty of nature, and more so by the warm hospitality of the people of Chamba. I still remember those who invited us for dinner, the lady who blessed my wife with prasad, the Alu Tikki vendor who gave us a BIG smile every time we passed by his stall.

Himachal is a blessed land with wonderful people. So is its neighbouring Ladakh and Uttarakhand.

Part-time Hodophile

I call myself a part time hodophile. Hodophile means a person who loves to travel. The word’ hodophilia’ comes from the ancient Greek for hodos, or journey, and “philia,” meaning love or affection — is simply the love of travel. I call myself a part-time lover of travel because, at times I just want to cocoon myself within home. And one day suddenly, the urge to go out propels me to travel to far off places – known and more often to relatively unknown places.

While I go to a relatively unknown place, I often wonder aimlessly. I recently discovered that there is a word for it: flaneuring. 

‘Flaneur’ is originally an untranslatable French word, imported to the English lexicon. It means travel at its essence. Flaneuring is a leisurely ramble whose only point is to soak up the beauty in the details we otherwise overlook. 

Food Story: Paneer and Chhena


History of food has always fascinated me. A new study, published in ‘Nature Ecology and Evolution’ suggests that early humans first cooked food around eight hundred thousand years ago.

Over time they experimented and came up with different stuff, processes and  dishes- depending on the easy availability, taste, impact on health and emerging cultural practices.

The other day, I read that Paneer existed since Vedic times. There is evidence to indicate that it was known to the people of the Indus Valley civilization. According to Sonal Ved, author of the book — Whose Samosa is it anyway? — the roots of the word Paneer can be found in the Turkish word Peynir.

There are two theories about Chhena, which emerged much later in India. Theory one: It is believed to have been brought to Bengal by the Portuguese traders who landed around the region of Bandel — a little North of Kolkata — and from there, it spread to parts of eastern India. Theory two: It emerged accidentally in Odisha.

 Tailpiece: Surround Sound

Define surround sound.

Award winning answer: Wife in the front seat of the car, her mother and sister in the back seat.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi