The unpredictable Melbourne weather

A view of Flinders street station building (left) in Melbourne. It's a city with a very European feel.-A view of Flinders street station building (left) in Melbourne. It's a city with a very European feel.

Melbourne has a reputation for multiple seasons in a day. The Mercury has risen to the mid-to-high thirties and on one occasion, it rains while still managing to be hot (if that were possible). By Shreedutta Chidananda.

After the heat of Adelaide, the Diary finds Melbourne a sweet relief. Daytime temperatures are in the high teens and they only drop by a couple of degrees after nightfall. It’s a city with a very European feel, and not just because of the climate. The central business district has a number of cafes and grand Victorian buildings, and the Diary is rather charmed.

But wait, what’s this? In two days, the weather has changed dramatically. The Mercury has risen to the mid-to-high thirties and on one occasion, it rains while still managing to be hot (if that were possible). The Diary is aware of Melbourne’s reputation for multiple seasons in a day, but this has left it feeling cheated.

Mysore peta

What’s this language the Diary hears in Yarra Park, on its way to the MCG for India vs. South Africa? Surely, it can’t be Kannada, a poor rarity in its own land? But it is! A contingent of 23 employees of a multi-national firm, it turns out, has travelled from Karnataka for the match. All two dozen (almost) gentlemen are wearing Mysore petas, specially purchased for the occasion. “There are many of us from our company from across the world,” said M.C. Uthappa. “But we are from Karnataka and we wanted to showcase a touch of our place. What better way to do this than by wearing the peta?” Indeed!

His loyalties are divided

Cricket is no stranger to super-fans, and the Diary has seen them all: Sudhir Kumar Gautam, Abdul Jalil ( chacha), Percy Abeysekera, and the inimitable Gravy. They’re a strange lot, these chaps, with their conches and bugles and gritty tales of flag-bearing straight out of The Red Badge of Courage. The Diary thinks some of them are silly attention-seekers, but the Diary also thought it had a career in Hollywood.

Mohammad Basheer has been around for a couple of years but he’s the newest item on the shelf. A Pakistani settled in Chicago, Basheer is married to an Indian from Hyderabad, and claims his loyalties are thus divided. He turns up to watch India train at the St. Kilda Junction Oval in a long shirt with various images of M. S. Dhoni printed on it. Dhoni has promised him an autograph, Basheer says, and sure enough the captain pays him a visit, signing on his shirt sleeve. The rest of the team follows suit and soon Basheer is beaming as multiple Indian TV crews bear down on him. He brandishes a pair of Oakleys, telling anyone within earshot that it’s a gift from Suresh Raina. The Diary salutes anyone who emerges from watching an Indian training session with something of value.