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   These mornings, when I get up (5 a.m.), the first thought that runs through my mind is: Is this the coldest day of the year? (February 2, 2000)

Each morning seems to be colder than the last, and each morning is more difficult to step out of a warm bed into a cold world. I shiver, I hug myself (what a nice phrase - to hug yourself), I push my head through a cardigan, I go to the window (open through the night), though more out of bravado than anything else, and stare out at a cold world. And I say to myself, it is colder than yesterday.It is night outside, the morning russet mantle clad has not yet come out to walk over the dew. And in the darkness I can hear the chug of the fishermen's motor-boats as they sail out to the sea for another day's work.

The paper arrives early, with a plonk it drops through the mail box. I pay a price for its early arrival, but it gives me my first good feeling of the day, to be able to get the news before anybody else does. True, most of it may be last night's television news, but TV news is quite indeterminate, before you have bit into an item of news, it is removed and the next item served. And the news on the internet is worse, it is most of the time difficult and sometimes impossible to get on the line, then, unless you have a definite idea what you want to look up, you spend half the morning scrolling through. Give me a newspaper any time, but then I may be biased.

Since I get up early, I begin my working day early.

Or is it the other way around? I am on the computer and typing away, before the day has begun and the birds have emerged from their

nests to go about their business. And what is

their business but to spread their wings and sail above land and sea, occasionally diving down to pick up a worm or a fish.

I spent three months at the Yacht Club, that gentlemen's institution that is so much more than a club, and the mornings have never been better. The Gateway with the sweepers and the fitness friends. In another age, we would have seen men walking their dogs, but that era has ended. We are not a dog loving country, I am afraid.

However, my present abode is not so bad either. On the opposite side of the harbour, the sea is more empty, but the waves have their own music as they wash the shores or push out into the sea. And the morning gently emerges from a dark night.

The sun must be already out in the east, and once out, it travels fast, climbing into a cloudless sky. But there is mist in the air, or fog, or it is only pollution that they say hangs over Mumbai permanently now. I can hardly see the ship that met its destiny off the Raj Bhavan beach last year. But it is day, all the same.

And, as I get out of the house, it is turning warm. And I think - it is not the coldest day of the year.

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