Dear Delhi Winter,
I am writing to you out of much love, but also a fair share of “y u do dis?”
Let me first introduce myself. I am one proper Chennai girl, having lived there for 17 years before I first met you. In Madras-land, we have a saying : “Chennai only has three seasons: hot, hotter, hottest.” To paint you a picture, December is our “best-weather” month, and the lowest we hit is 20 degrees. During this “biting cold” period, uncles and aunties often whip out monkey caps and earmuffs—yes, you read that right—to protect themselves.
And then there’s you.
They tried to warn me about you. “Delhi is sooo extreme yaa”, they said. “Lol u gonna freeze lol”, they said. “Drishya you’re weak, you won’t survive a day”, they said. But I couldn’t wait to meet you. To me, the kid whose no.1 skincare product choice was Dermicool, you were frikkin’ Disneyland.
But like every adolescent infatuation, ours took a turn from sickly-sweet to bitter-sweet.
First, there were the layers. So. Many. Layers.
I was so excited about winter fashion. Leather jackets, boots, scarves? Hells, yeah! But when the first real winter day pulled around, the smexy outfit I had laid out needed some tweaks…
… and I ended up looking less like a Pinterest diva and more like one of them South Park boys.
Me, circa January, 2012
On a side note to well-dressed Delhi women: How do you do it? How do you rock leather minis and open knits without turning into icicles??? TEACH ME, MASTERS
Bye bye, bras!
How could I not love you for this wonderful, wonderful gift? On a regular day, there’s no way a more-than-B-cup could dream of stepping out bra-less. But under the warm inners, the thick t-shirt, the sweater, the cardigan, the jacket, and the scarf, boobs are but a forgotten mystery.
NO BOOB CAGES FOR YOU, DW!
Can’t stop fog-mouthing.
You’re probably sick of tourist-types like me, with the constant fake-smoking.
But I’m not even sorry. It’s just too entertaining not to do. For four years we would meet, and for four years I would not give up this possibly annoying habit.
Years have passed, and I live in Bangalore now—which, as we know, is famous for its ever-pleasant weather. Still, on those particularly cold days, I try to make cool fog rings with my exhales. People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s totally worth it.
Bathing is, apparently, not a necessarily a daily ritual.
Growing up, my mummy always told me to bathe at least twice a day, if not thrice; the morning bathe was non-negotiable. Then again, in Chennai summers, bathing was almost counter-productive. The cold water tap only releases luke-warm water at best, turning the shower into more of a sauna. You must know this about your arch frenemy, Delhi Summer.
I never considered not bathing for days (millennial pun not intended) until I met you, though.
But I got it instantly. Why get out of my warm and comfy clothes, torture myself with the “garam paani - thanda paani” mixing routine, only to get back into cold AF clothes?
Cleanliness? Nah, no sweat = no stink = totes hygienic. That’s what you taught me, DW. :’)
How to work and stuff?
This is one of your complexities I’ll never understand. How, just how did you think we were going to be functional human beings with you around? I mean, first, there’s the issue of actually getting out of bed, getting dressed, braving stone-cold rickshaw rides and getting to work… alive.
Then, there’s the small detail of having to use our hands and legs to perform said work. In fashion school, where I studied, a pretty important part was to sketch out your ideas, cut fabric, and stitch your garment… If you’ll notice, all of these require hands, not slabs of ice, thank you.
How am I supposed to hold a pen steady in thick gloves, DW?
No wonder I always failed second sem.
You're inspiring, Delhi Winter. You inspire love, hatred, and everything in between. You even inspired us to make an entire video about you.
But as Joey Tribbiani once famously said, "The (metaphorical) cold has now spread to my special place," so imma wrap this up.
What I’m getting at, Delhi Winter, is that I can’t quite make up my mind about you. On one hand, I’ll always be a little hung up on you—after all, we have so many memories.
Searching for sunny spots in Lodhi Garden.
Enjoying a matka of chai at any hour of the day.
Chuski, even on freezing nights, at India Gate.
Bonfires, music, and Old Monk neat.
And, the best part: replying with “ROFL” to all my friends back South (or anywhere-but-North) complaining about the weather non-stop.
Because no matter what, I pick you over hot, hotter, hottest. All day, every day.
— Jyotiraj Hazarika (@JRajHazarika) December 24, 2016
Between you and Bangalore, however…
... that's a topic for another open letter.
Cold South Indian