Image Flash: Delhi in the Winters

You come home and the bag flops into the couch. In the folds of curtains, and between the floor boards, the London Winter slips to the outside world. Inside your house – you could actually be anywhere. Hindi channel is on mute. The familiar smell of sambhar and other masalas filling all corners. On most days in the morning, unknown to you, you carry some of these masala-inspired scents on your coat. And it withers away in the cold of this city.

Today Delhi must be remembered. More than Delhi, the music is Mofussilish. But that is what Delhi was. Mofussil after Mofussil. Brown of the dust, occassional white of the marble, and the colour of neglect on the tombs. But that was Delhi of five years back. Every year, it seems more and more like other cities. You wonder if Old Delhi will disappear, of if they will make a museum out of the streets.

How Delhi loves the winters… The glass panes on the buses, which were otherwise intact, were sure to break in the winters, and the killing cold would come and fill your lungs with ice. Everywhere, the smell of roasting peanuts. Under the flyover nearby, a man makes expert Omelettes and places them in Buns.

You don’t drink tea by cups in Delhi, you drink them by the conversations. One doesn’t say ‘I have four cups’, instead – the line reads ‘We had tea over two hours of gup-shup (Conversation)’. In the terraces of the buildings built in haste during the Partition, people in colourful shawls and muffs balance hot samosas in their hands.

Far away from here – Winter arrives in Delhi.

17 Comments

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17 Responses to Image Flash: Delhi in the Winters

  1. km

    Loverly post. Good to see cold London thawed some of your memory cells :)

    Winter in the North also reminds me of “lodhi” and eating rabdi by the fireside…

    km

  2. OMG… wonderful post. Though I am in Delhi, it kind of reminded me of Delhi. Because South Delhi these days looks more like London than purani wali Delhi. For better or worse… is yet to be seen.

  3. lovely vignette! i liked the bit about tea measured by conversations! :-))

  4. hey neha.

    whats happening. how are you ?

  5. The winter you conjure marks ten years since I last set foot in the city of my birth. I don’t want to go over the top with fawning appreciation, but your little simulacrum brought a wistful sigh to another long since removed Delhi-ite preparing for London’s winter once again.

  6. Southie Chick and Delhi?! Wow! Doesn’t say much about your city, does it?!

  7. Raj

    How delhi loves its winters and how the people transform themselves! You find them less irritable, more tolerant of traffic jams and far better-dressed, Great place to be in, during the months Nov-feb,

  8. Well, I am in delhi, the part that is kinda far from london :) !

    And boy, winter’s asking time and again, “Don’t tell me you had forgotten I hugged like this?”

    Doing VERY good work on the blogosphere, Neha. You are almost EVERYWHERE!

  9. nostalgia about india seems to be mostly what’s on these nri blogs.

  10. Thanks all of you for the appreciation. Yup, the cold does one set thinking.

    Hawk: LOL! You try too hard dude! Too hard!

    Sonia: Nostalgia is different from city-loving, and here – we indulge in the latter. NRI blog? As in a blog with horns? Or a blog that captures your soul and puts in a blender?

    Besides, Nostalgia isn’t the prerogative of NRIs. You can be far away from the city you grew up in within India. So what is that – NRD? Non Resident Delhite? Or as Hawk points out NRSID – Non Resident South Indian Delhite? Have you even read the rest of this blog lady? I also suggest you read more NRI blogs to figure out what they are ALL about!! *uncontrollable laughter*.

  11. I’m bang in the middle of a Delhi winter.

    Delhi winter=intoxicating hasnahana everywhere. ~:D

  12. I think I have read your Blog very many times before, but being the lurker person haven’t commented.

    But I loved the phrase of measuring cups of tea over conversation… sounds like a promising line for some advertiser to use! :)

    And being a part Delhi person myself (even though I don’t like to admit that ever!) I like the picture you paint about peanuts, round chikkis and gazaks. Winters are overwhelmingly about food…

    Oh and I see that “my favorite bird” is now expanding his/her horizons!

  13. As pucca Bombayite, I am not given to feeling kindly about Delhi, what with all my bizarre experiences in the city but your post reminded me of some of the reasons I love the place.

    Thanks! :-)

  14. LAK

    Hey, you’d better get a copyright on your ‘tea measured by conversation’phrase!I liked it a lot. As it happened, I was having tea as I read your post. Yes, Delhi is beautiful in winter–the people are nicer–how come you didn’t mention the flowers in the traffic islands? Liked your rejoinder to Sonia too!;)

  15. take it easy nostalgia is something we all experience. did i suggest it was wrong?! you do sound defensive so please relax i wasn’t trying to be ‘offensive’ – and thanks i have been reading a lot of nri blogs – i follow the links from one to the next and that’s pretty much how i’ve started discovering the ‘indian blogosphere’. i dont think its a bad thing necessarily to focus on ‘india’ or indianness – why can’t we be reflexive about it that’s all. i mean actually it may be a good thing. sometimes it can play to one’s advantage – cashing in on one’s ethnicity ( hey i’m not meaning you here personally – a general statement! ) but say by not doing so some of us could lose out… e.g. the global voices blogger summit thingie gives preference to bloggers in countries other than the US or UK. which makes sense but then some of us bloggers who are from other parts of the world and have ‘global voices’ potentially end up being excluded cos we may physically happen to be in the ‘West’…any thoughts on that you lot?

  16. Sonia:

    The “tone” sounded dismissive – not offensive, hence my remark. A lot of NRIs and the diaspora do not want to be viewed as those in the constant limbo. And nostalgia is about being in constant limbo – it isn’t the same as remembering. I am very desi in my blogging tastes – but that is not the one thing that defines me.

    And actually, I think GV does attempt to cover a lot of diaspora. I know I could be thought of as an NRI. And sitting in London, I cover South Asia! It’s really to do with your perspective as well then, isn’t it? As far as I know – the summit will have people who represent communities who do not live in their country of origin as well.

  17. Wow – very true – very nice – very evocative