City Season – Signs of Winter, Around Town
A nip in the air.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The world in Delhi changed on the morning of 28 October 2015.
“It is finally cold,” said Arshad Ali Fehmi (see above), an Old Delhi resident. He was seated on his roof. “Next month my sister will visit us from Canada. She always likes to come to Delhi in the winter.”
Usually, the change in the season is barely perceived. One day, it is warm and every man is seen in a shirt or vest, like the day before. The next day, the same people are spotted in a jacket or shawl.
The Delhi Walla spent a day picking up clues of the approaching cold. In Humayunpur village, quilts and blankets were spread out on a wall. They were being aired after months of summer-time hibernation inside locked trunks. In Sahibabad, a man was stuffing a quilt with cotton wool. In Chitli Qabar, a young student, waiting for his rickshaw, was spotted wearing woolen gloves. In Matia Mahal, a beggar was seen in a pink sweater. In Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, a flower seller was sighted in a waistcoat; a tea-stall customer was in a white half-sweater; a child street-food vendor was selling steaming-hot sweet potatoes; an elderly cook lay asleep under a pink blanket.
At The Bookshop in Jor Bagh Market, the store’s gentle-mannered owner Nini KD Singh have begun to leave for her daily evening walk to the Lodhi Gardens earlier than usual “because it has now started to get dark early.”
In an establishment in the GB Road red light district, Sushma, a middle-aged prostitute, is knitting a sweater for her friend’s young son.
In his book Delhi Through the Seasons, late author Khushwant Singh wrote in the chapter titled ‘November’: “The November sky in Delhi has an ethereal quality. It is best seen at the hour of sunset and dusk when it assumes a silvery grey luminescence which creates an illusion of vast breathtaking expansiveness. The longer you gaze at it, the more you feel yourself becoming a part of it.”
Soon, our city mornings will routinely gelt cloaked in the cold mist. It would then be difficult to discern Humayun’s Tomb from the balconies of the privileged Nizamuddin East.
That time of the year