Friday, January 05, 2007

Dilli Ki Sardi

The plane taxied on the tarmac, and passengers coming from the year-round-pleasant-weather cities of South India huddled closer together as they saw the fog outside. As soon as we stepped out of the plane, a blast of cold air hit us and as I chained up my jacket, I called out to the shivering man in a half-sweater over a half-sleeved shirt behind me, "Welcome to Delhi".

I've here for more than six years now, and all along I have battled the winters here as one does a strategic foe. You have to be on your guard all the time. It attacks you from all sides and doesn't relent, and the chill is of a quality that hurts you, not one in which you can go out for walks muffled up, no sir no, you'd better stay bundled under your rajai and watch TV/computer or read a book. The chill creeps in from all directions prickling you like needles and if you are not ready, it can seriously hurt you.

But slowly you overcome it and begin liking it. Over the years, many winter nights have been spent in front of the computer watching a movie slowly, too lazy to fastforward it or change it, then on the call of some friends mustering courage enough to get up and get some coffee outside, three-four friends all sitting together with several layers of insulation eating pizza or talking till the wee hours of the morning. For some reason, I have grown to love Delhi's winters and delayed as they were this year, I was getting irritated looking at the sight of my blankets and warm clothing lying unused. It was like itching to go home where you know very irritating siblings and cousins awaited you but you wanted to go there all same. It has become a part of me and I can't wait for them.

Now that they are in full swing, I suddenly feel very good; I am finally at home :)

As somebody told me a few days back, "if you can survive Delhi, you can survive anywhere". I like that.

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