Saturday, November 19, 2011

City of all seasons

"Don't dare destiny." My mother would say, wagging her finger at me while giving me the why-did-I-ever-teach-her-to-talk look. Well, she was right. The stuff I said I would "NEVER" do, I ended up doing. It started with glasses.

"Yuck! I will NEVER wear glasses." I had famously declared when the doc said I had a small number and the headaches would continue if I didn't wear them. That was age 10. Now, age *none-of-your-business*, and I need my glasses to see my nose in the mirror.

"Sheesh! Who wants to get married and become a bai? Not to mention irritating, tiresome, pooping babies!" Golden words at age 20. Now - you guessed it - married, AND kids! Cook, wash, clean, and every other chore you can think of - been there, done that.

Among many such declarations, one was "Any city in the whole damn world, but Delhi." No prizes for guessing where my home sweet home is located - Saddi Dilli.

The best (and the worst) thing about Delhi is the weather. Two times a year, the whole city goes berserk getting ready for the change in weather. Summer to winter transition starts October end for the foresighted ones, and by mid December for the ones who prefer to wait till their butts get frozen. But like the saying goes - change is inevitable in Delhi.

  • The first signs of approaching winters is with the most important individual in the household - the Bai. She reminds you that she will leave earlier than usual - "Andhera ho jata hai na" (it gets dark faster, and she is actually Cinderella in disguise, so she must scram before nightfall....).
  • Next, you realize that cottons, georgettes and chiffons are disappearing. (for guys who think these are names of exotic French wines - they are fabrics which are light and suitable for summers). These are replaced by crepes, silks and wool.
  • Clotheslines outside homes get interesting - you will find rugs, blankets, razais (thick, mattress-like blankets), shawls and other nick knacks out in the sun. (Where these things disappear off in the summers, is another well kept secret in all self-respecting Delhi households.)
  • Dry cleaners become the most profitable business (next only to wedding caterers - more on that later) as everyone brings out their woollens into the open.
  • Shopping, which was already in a frenzied pace due to the festive season, now reaches a crescendo - after all, Delhi and shopping are almost synonyms of each other. BTW... conversations often are thus:
    • "I am bored" .... "Lets go shopping."
    • "I feel neglected."..... "Thats so not true. Come let me take you shopping."
    • "I am broke."....... "Awww.... well, lucky there's a sale ... lets go shopping."
    • "I am hungry" ..... "There's a new Chinese place. We can shop after lunch."
    • "I am engaged to be married!" ..... "Wow... lets start shopping for the wedding!"
  •  Weddings, weddings and weddings. Remember all the silks we were talking about? THIS is the reason winters were made - to allow for great, big, glitzy, shimmering weddings. Farm houses, and tent wallahs become the most sought after, and wedding destinations become the topic of conversations. From wedding cards to return gifts, (can you believe you go for a glitzy wedding, ogle at all the beauty, eat from 10 different types of cuisines, gorge on all the desserts, taste all those weird cocktails in the FREE bar, AND get a return gift - which you can subsequently gift SOMEONE ELSE for THEIR wedding - feels like heaven, feels like Delhi!) everyone is vying with their neighbour to throw the best wedding in the country!

  • Early morning fog starts rolling in (today was the first day this season!) and you start saving on petrol. How, you ask? Cool weather = No need for AC in car = more mileage. (Good heavens - you weren't thinking of the BUS, were you?)
  • Samosas, pakoras, chaat parties become more frequent in offices. What to do? Your body needs to burn more calories to keep you warm, no? And then, you always wear a coat or a sweater - so all the added tyres are hidden. Khate jao, khate jao, Sardi ke gun gaate jao!
  • Sleeeeeeep! Especially mornings! If there is heaven on earth, the bed with a cozy razai on a cold winter morning certainly is!
Just love the Delhi winters! Happy winter to all!


  1. I've never been to Delhi and the vow is mine too 'Any god damn city but Delhi'. But this post, just gets me this close to falling in love with the city for living in Bombay all my 19 years of existence, winters haven't been in my most experienced things:)
    Great text :)

  2. 'What you resist, persists'. That's the way it is. So I've decided to say 'Never say never' ;)
    So Saddi Dilli is gearing up for the winter, eh? The deaths due to the winter waves are also pretty common then, ain't they? I've seen news reports of people freezing to death... and it seems scary :S

  3. you know..i have to be honest..since i was young, i've always had a bad opinion of Delhi... the newspaper/channels always had an article on a rape/crime againt women/blatant babudom ... image stuck in my head i guess

  4. *siiighh*.. soo true.. what you don't want half the times are forced onto you... :|
    I looveee Delhi shopping!! :D :D and def hate the weather.. it was so friiginnn hot and humid when i visited delhi ( july mein) ..
    and def agree with the sleeeeppp part ;)

  5. I know what it feels like, using that word NEVER and then ending up doing just that. I NEVER wanted to do anything with computers, and guess what I got married to a computer fanatic and programmer who turned me into one too :( How much worse could the punishment for using the NEVER word get. Never challenge your destiny. There I go saying Never again

  6. I swear I have come up with many such atrocious sweeping declarations and have eaten my words in lightning quick time.

    Hot Tea, Samosa's and Pakora's, Thick blankets, sweaters and Snow --> Perfect winter.

  7. I like Delhi in Winters. It is so nice..I hate summers in Delhi.

    Weddings...yes..that is the reason.

    Nice post on what is going on Delhi these days ...feel like I am there.

  8. Oh I used to hate winters as a school kid.Getting up to darkness outside and standing in the fog waiting for bus. But Now i loooove winter!

  9. Firstly, sorry for the delay in replying to comments.... but some awesome stuff has been happening, and I shall soon be able to reveal it to all of you....... but for now -

    @Priyanka..... well, Delhi is a place you can fall in love with gradually. There are people who swear that this is the only city they would want to live in, too...

    @Vinitha... yes, sadly, empathy is not one of the city's strong points, and deaths occur every year among the homeless :-(

    @Roshan... I couldn't say you are wrong in your assessment of the city. But then, there are some things that make the city endearing to most of its inhabitants

    @Viya .. yeah.. the shopping is definitely a high. And Delhi winters - you either love them or hate them.

    @Maxims...hehehe.... computer geeks eh? Well, we all have our "Nevers"

    @Atrocious... well, I have always had a healthy diet of eating my own words! And sadly, there is no snow (though peak winter temperatures touched 0 degrees last time)

    @A ..thank you. Coming from you that is a real compliment - you describe the cities you visit so beautifully...

    @Red handed .... oh yeah - school kids really have a tough time in winters... and sleep during winters is really bliss!