“Who Stole Delhi’s Winter?” Saw this snippet in the newspaper this morning and couldn’t help smiling at it. Exactly what's been going on in my mind. Winter is my favorite part of living in Delhi and the deprivation of some of the much awaited experiences is definitely being felt .
So you are wondering what the big deal is. What do winters in Delhi mean?
To start with, it is our favorite fashion season. Big or small, dark or fair, tall or short, with the fancy jackets, turtlenecks, scarves, tweeds, the chillier it gets, the more we layer up in style. The only appreciative statement that I have heard from a Mumbaikar for Delhi is- “everyone in Delhi dresses up so well in winters.” While most people will relate to their mom’s staple question in this season – “beta sweater pehna hai ki nahin” it’s not just the ‘sweater’ - we have a full winter wardrobe. And if you have been to college in Delhi, you will surely have a knitted cap and pair of obnoxiously bright colored socks that you bought from Dilli Haat. Alas, this year, we haven’t moved beyond the first layer. The matching knitted caps , stoles and gloves will probably go back into the boxes untouched. Even the notorius muffler is probably out of business this year.
Dilli Haat just reminded me of the food fiesta. Winters is the weight gaining season. Of course we can hide all the additional gains under those layers. Chikki and gajak rule and so does gajar ka halwa and sarson ka saag. Our sweet tooth suddenly gains prominence and the colder it gets the more it demands these fat laden sweets. And while we get all veggies throughout the year nowadays, the gajar matar ki sabzi ubiquitously appears in everyone’s lunch box during winters in Delhi. December to February also brings along the wedding season which does not help much in controlling the bulges. The wedding menu cannot be complete without a hot “kulhar” of Kesar milk. This year, with the chill yet to come, my inaugural gajar ka halwa still waits in the refrigerator.
Talking about food, how can we not mention the bonfires or the angeethis. The rooftops have these specially set up. Even if they didn’t have, if you thought Delhites would stay indoors during this season,you are mistaken. 3D parties rock as it gets colder ( 3D- Drinks, Dinner and Dance). Whoever wrote the lyrics of “tadpaye tarsaye se, pyar tera dilli ki sardi’’ definitely hit a jackpot with the song sticking to every Delhi party! The bonfires will probably just be a memory this year. It’s January and I still switch on the AC in my car.
The other thing we get crazy about is coffee in winters. From students huddled in their hostel rooms to after dinner sittings in the family to romantic couples, a cup of desi hand-whipped concoction of sugar and Nescafe finds its way everywhere. It makes us more social, adds to the feeling of community. You’ll never hear someone saying lets catch up over Pina colada in summers but let’s catch up over coffee in winters is a pet statement.
A hot cup of coffee, a warm blanket and a Bollywood block buster like DDLJ playing on TV is the ultimate experience for a homebody at this time. If you are blessed with warm sunshine in your house/apartment to add to the above, you are nearly going to attain nirvana. If not then the variety of heating paraphernalia right from the rudimentary copper coil heater to the latest oil radiators make the environment even cozier. As I write, my poor blower is gaping at me from the corner of the room. It had just started clearing its throat and suddenly ran out of season.
By the way it’s not just the sunshine, we love the fog too. It’s tragic to wake up on a January morning and not find yourself floating in fog when you look out of the window. How dense the fog was today is a favorite morning conversation which we have been deprived of!
From the struggle of getting out of the blanket in the morning to standing in the queue for a round of hot jalebi and rabdi, from shelling groundnuts idly to driving in the morning with headlights on, each of these winter experiences ignites an emotion. I could go on and on but while there is still some time left to experience the rest, my fondest experience that’s been stolen and won’t come back till next year is the winter rain in Delhi on 1st January… what’s yours?