From a winter’s night walk

Original Photo: Abhishek Kshetrimayum 

The weather is so disgraceful in Delhi, and it disrobes humanity of its vanity. In summer, the mercury rises to 45 degree that makes us want to go naked. On the opposite side of the year, when the uncongenial cold gives us the seasonal kick in the derrière, it hurts as if we have been wearing nothing.

Single Click: Open Season

Personally I prefer winter to summer. Well, life could have been so meaningful if it means choosing between the least number of alternatives. Perhaps we have these seasons to offer some clues into the essence. Now I was saying winter because some thick sweaters and jackets plus a room heater and an immersion rod  can give me company, and I’m alright in these winters of discontent. Though it’s quite terrible waking up, I agreed, but it’s lot easier than facing the summer’s wrath. Remember the sweat that pours off your brow on those sultry May mornings, and then the oppressive heat that follows throughout.

Springs and autumns have sank into irrelevancy by virtue of their abrupt existence. Otherwise, I’ll only live and die in spring. George Santayana wrote a happier state of mind is to be interested in the changing seasons than to be hopelessly in love with spring. Still, this deprivation, and the hostile sun in this part of the world are two of the reasons I believe I’ll never settle down in Delhi. There is no string attached to the city. P Chidambaram might re-quote it’s because of people like me that the crime rate is rising here. So migrantic!

Double Click: The Story of Footpaths and Flyovers

There are more chilling stories than meet the eye. It’s not about the cliché of worrying about having no shoes and finding a lame on the street. We do worry about cold and comfort, about heater and sweater, when scores of people are dying every day due to the dropping temperature. One report indicates there are roughly 150,000* people  in the city without access to shelter, water and sanitation. There are Delhi Master Plan 2021, which has programmes for building a common shelter for the homeless; several NGOs devoted to help these people; and concerned people are setting up night shelters.

But many people are still on their own devices, resorting to every available means to get themselves out of the winter’s blues. And don't blame the weather for the number of gruesome crime in the city. If I were the chief minister, I would turn the Kotla stadium into a community shelter. India is playing too much cricket, and the players need some rest. Or play in the Wankhede if they are desperate. Meanwhile the cricket board can reestablish themselves in an outskirt area and turn the place into another Gurgaon or Noida. But again, life would have been so good if we could just simplify it and live happily ever after. That is, the problem of homeless people will not end in a community shelter. Another unhealthy trend will arise: unemployment, security, blah blah blah. Still an affordable housing system, for starters, will do Delhi a world of good.


*Homeless in Delhi

UN rights expert sounds alarm on dire situation of New Delhi’s homeless—20 Jan 2010
Cold Weather Kills 13 More People In North India—Jan 10 2011



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