In a city like Delhi, your air conditioners should be all weather but not if you happen to be transferred to Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya.

In fact the Voltas All Weather AC advertisement on television (featuring the much-transferred Murthy) doesn’t paint the true picture of Cherrapunjee. Yes, it doesn’t rain as much as it used to in Sohra (the local name for the place) but we Meghalayans don’t take too kindly the portrayal of one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations as a humid hell.

Cherrapunjee - the Rainiest Place on Planet Earth

Eastern India may be more humid than the parched lands of North or Central India, but by no means Cherrapunjee is as sweaty as the Voltas ad presents it. The creative heads at Ogilvy’s Meridian have got their meteorology a little wrong. Precipitation does have a connection with humidity, but temperature plays a major role in the weather being sweltering. And the mercury doesn’t rise too high in these hills.

If you are planning to visit Cherapujee (and you must) don’t believe a word of what Murthy complains about Cherrapunjee.

Welcome to Cherrapunjee, always raining always chip chip
Walking sweating, talking sweating, bathing sweating, all sweating…

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Cherra and the weather there was as pleasant as a May in Meghalaya can be.

Such misleading advertisements can have an impact on tourism. And I take umbrage on behalf of my home state.

I have submitted a complaint with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) on this matter (my first). Just a little attempt to set the record straight.

But before you navigate away, here’s a video and a little lore on one of the amazing wonders of the place – Noh Ka Likai Falls (also written as Nohkalikai Falls). At 1,115 feet (340 metres), this is one of the tallest waterfalls in India.

A young woman named Ka Lokai had a daughter from a previous marriage and has married for the second time. Her new husband loathed his step-daughter. One day on returning from work in the fields she was surprised to find that her husband and prepared the evening meal and he also served the food to her himself. She ate the meal with relish. Later she discovered her daughter’s severed fingers in a betel nut basket. Distraught with grief and remorse she rushed to nearby cliffs and threw herself over the precipice adjoining the waterfalls. These falls have ever since been named Noh Ka Likai, which translates (from Khasi) to the leap of Ka Likai.

  • John Doe

    well I was lucky enough to stay in cherrapunji for a while. and in the years it was uncomfortably hot and sweaty only once or twice. usually people would be bundled up in jackets or sweaters in the summers when it rained almost all the time. i believe it is much warmer now. still moorthee got it all wrong.

    anyways i also believe that one need not take offense. these ads are supposed to be funny, and they are. no one takes them seriously. if every place or community takes offense on its portrayal in films and fiction, there would have been no funny movie ever made.

    • I am all for humour but the best humour is informed humour. This Voltas Cherrapunjee ad is one born out of ignorance, since rains are associated with humidity they assumed that the rainiest place would be the most humid. Which is not the case. My intention is just to set the record straight – that in Cherrapunjee is not a “walking sweating, talking sweating, bathing sweating, all sweating” town.

      Cherrapunjee is a tourist destination and such ill-informed advertisements can make some people rethink their plans and can to some extent impact the town’s economy. Meghalaya being my home state, it is obvious that I will feel strongly about any misrepresentation.

      We need to be tolerant, but shouldn’t tolerate ignorance. And that too on the part of leading advertising agencies and companies.

      Since we are on the topic of Cherrapunjee, the incessant rains can drive people to suicide (not the Noh Ka Likai legend), some of the tombstones from the British times in the town are testimony to the fact. But not the humidity.

  • John Doe

    I will tell you how many tourists will decide to not go to Cherrapunji because of the ad? Zero. People in India are quite comfortable with idea of willing suspension of disbelief when they are consuming a creative product. If it wasn’t so, every place in the world would have been taboo. Westerners would have thought that India was full of kali worshiping human sacrificers after seeing Indiana Jones Temple of Doom. People would have stopped going to Nepal after seeing Gharwali Baharwali (other than those desperately wanting to get married), Mumbai would seem like a place where people only kill each other, Venice full of mysterious assassins… the fact is no one cares. Another ad in the series under discussion also claims that Kota is the hottest place in the country. While it is famous for its mild and agreeable weather (compared to Rajasthan, that is). No one from Kota seems to be complaining.

    • Don’t know how you can be so sure about the zero figure. But the fact is that the agency did get their basic facts wrong. It was a blooper! And this post is an attempt to set it right.

      Also on the topic of intolerance. Which is more intolerant? My objecting to a misrepresentation or someone objecting to my objection of objecting to a misrepresentation?

      Even in fiction, authors create their own characters and weave imaginary stories around them but they are very particular when describing places and climate (at least the better ones are).

  • Madhu Nair

    seriously….the ad was a bit misleading….thanks for the info