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Dilli Ki Sardi

Dilli Ki Sardi
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It’s been pouring incessantly in Delhi. The mercury has dipped to dizzying levels, and all of us are craving for dhoop like ‘Jaadoo’ – the alien in the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Koi Mil Gaya. Because I’ve been trapped indoors, I’ve had to find new ways of keeping myself amused. Like, working out! After struggling for a week, discovering hitherto dormant muscles, and realising that not everybody ages backwards a la Benjamin Button, I’m contemplating giving it up.

Yet to take a call on that, though! The cold is making me lazy… er than usual, which is one of the many things this fierce Delhi winter does to us mortals. This is my 12th Delhi winter, and each feels colder than the previous. But, there’s something about it that makes it incredibly special. It’s like the proverbial shaadi ka laddoo – khaao toh pachhtaao, na khaao toh bhi pachhtaao! So, what is so khaas about Delhi winters? Here are a few quirky things that are as intrinsic to Delhi winters as the rains are to Bombay!

 1. Winters are when not a drop of water is wasted in Delhi. In fact, water is hardly spent. Because, majority of the population bathes only once in a while! Deodorant and perfume sales skyrocket, and Delhi Jal Board saves enough water to fill up tankers that are sent out to supply enough water so we can bathe twice, sometimes even thrice, a day in the summers!

 2. Winters are when Delhi is at its stylish best. The rest of the year Bombay beats us hollow. With their extremely long summer and exceptionally short hemlines, Bombay women turn the heat on like no others! But, Delhi gives it back, sood samet, during winters. While Bombayites rush to Mahabaleshwar (joke of a hill station, for the uninitiated) to throw on the solitary coat (from the early 90s’) they possess, Delhi does a London and turns into a daily fall-winter fashion show! Youngsters, who are forced to wear boring kurta-jeans all through the simmering summers (strict parents and lecherous/amorous Delhi menfolk are to blame), overnight blossom into style goddesses. Winter is their only chance to be stylish and covered up at the same time. Of course, that still doesn’t stop enthu-cutlet Khalsa college students from lasciviously checking out Miranda House girls during the latter’s annual fest! And yes, trying to impress them by dancing to Yo Yo Honey Singh. Like I said, enthu-cutlets!

 3. The Fog: Winters are when everybody is pardoned for turning up a little late, be it at school or at work or back at home from work (that they smell of liquor is a different matter, though). Because the big, bad fog is on the prowl! From traffic snarls to delayed trains, the fog is to blame for everything. Chintu failing Maths because the fog wouldn’t let him cycle to the tuition classes two kilometers away, Babita getting lice from fellow unwashed 2nd grader, Sharma ji’s growing paunch because the fog wouldn’t let him walk around the local MCD park and steal admiring glances at the young girls practicing yoga, Bhabhiji’s smelling damp every day because the fog wouldn’t let the sun shine and dry her luscious locks, and Dadi Ma mistakenly brushing her detachable teeth with Boroline instead of toothpaste because the fog fogged up her only pair of glasses!

4. Winters are when everybody has the licence to be drunk. Caught a chill? Have some brandy and warm water. Down with a fever? Down a shot of dark rum, neat. At a farmhouse wedding in a low cut blouse! The bar comes to your rescue! Can’t sleep at night because it’s too cold? Just add some brandy to your nightly glass of milk. That’s what Kapoor aunty does. And, Pinky Didi. And, Colonel Uncle, too! Winter is when liquor becomes more important than money. Don’t be surprised if your vehicle is stopped at a check-post, and a shivering policeman asks for a drink. Stashing some in your car’s boot comes in quite handy, I’m told by friends who’re rich enough to own a car and energetic enough to drive! I’m neither.

 5. Delhi winter has its own brand ambassador, unlike any other place in the world. And, he’s a superhero to boot! Gotham has Batman, New York has Spiderman, Metropolis has Superman, and Delhi has Mufflerman, aka Arvind Kejriwal.

With a recurring cough, blocked nose, and trademark muffler, Kejriwal has become synonymous with Delhi winters! And, with the way things are going, he seems to be well on his way to cementing his position. Hopefully, he’ll deliver even without the muffler!

The author is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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