A Cold and Foggy New Delhi
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. There’s heavy fog in New Delhi with visibility reduced to 100 meters so we’re going to delay our flight by thirty minutes or until the weather in New Delhi clears up a bit.”
Fortunately, it’s just a thirty-minute wait and not a minute longer. Thing is, sitting here in the plane and looking out the oval window as we leave the golden sands of the desert behind, I’m having a hard time imagining how Delhi might be like covered in fog. I mean, we’d always visit during the summer. How do I describe Delhi’s summer? It’s like sitting inside a tandoori oven. The hot wind that blows in from Rajasthan swirls around Delhi, hitting your face menacingly, flushing your skin and drying your eyes.
This year we decide to see how Delhi’s like during the winter. Turns out, we pick the foggiest day of the year to fly.
The early morning fog disrupts operations at the Indira Gandhi International airport, where more than 80 flights were delayed, including ours. Minimum morning temperature is 7.6 degrees Celsius. By 8.30 a.m., visibility is reduced to 100 metres.
By the time we land, just a little past noon, the fog clears up considerably. I am delighted to feel the cold breeze against my skin. Everyone in the city is either wearing a sweater or a jacket.
The entire city is again covered in thick fog by six in the evening. The city looks dark and ghostly. We’re out to show the famous Jama Masjid to Masood’s mom, but we can’t see the huge structure up until we are standing right in front of it!
Masood’s mom has been here a long time ago, with her husband, and has so many fond memories. I see the happy-sad look on her face as she looks up the concrete stairs and remembers her late husband.
Later, we have Chicken Jahangiri and Tandoori Fish at Karim’s. We drink tea from a tiny shop that sells only tea and shahi tukrey, warm bread pudding cooked in pure ghee and garnished with slivers of almonds and pistachios. A teaspoon of this dessert is enough to give you hyperglycemia for a week!
We giggle with childish glee upon discovering the condensed vapor coming from our mouths as we speak or exhale. I restrain myself upon noticing a man in military uniform look at us, least he thinks we’ve come from the desert to experience the first winter of our lives.
The roadside is busy with hawkers selling grilled corn on the cob, roasted peanuts, warm milk tea, pink and fluffy cotton candy, and dried fruits.
I promptly tell Masood how much I’m enjoying the cold weather in Delhi, about how I’m falling in love with the city and its fog, and that I have made up my mind about buying a property and moving permanently in this city.
He agrees a little too quickly and unenthusiastically. I eye him suspiciously. He says he knows I’ll change my mind in two months.
You’ll see more fog-laden pictures in the next two posts. I’m bringing you more of New Delhi and Agra. Stay tuned!