The winter in Delhi can be particularly chilling in a chilling way(word play intended). While the temperatures never go down to the freezing –they hover a few degrees above –the cold creeps (‘seep’ is too benign a verb) into bones, into the whole skeletal structure despite being overloaded with woolens and jackets.And this winter has been among the ‘creepiest’ for some time.
Lovat Fraser writing in 1903 had this to say*-
I never dreamed of this, and I cannot stand it. I should think there is nothing in the world like the cold of Delhi. It is not that it is severe; it is the quality of it that knocks you over. Dry cold in other places is invigorating and stimulating. This is a sort of dead cold, and reduces
you to a clammy corpse. It creeps in everywhere; the thickest overcoats are not proof against it. From ten in the morning to five in the afternoon I live; then the climate is delightful. But that is just the time when I want to be out seeing things; and when I start at night to write, my brain is congealed. It will not work, not will my hand hold the pen. Do you know how I wrote my last letter? My servant kept replenishing a basin of hot water on the table, and I dipped my fingers into it at the end of every sentence. How can I write decently under such conditions? And this is your coral strand! Never will I grumble at the English winter again.
Midday(yes!)fog in Delhi
* as quoted in the book Historic Delhi- An anthology, H. K. Kaul(editor).The Fraser citation is from-Lovat Fraser. At Delhi. Bombay: Times of India; London:W.Thacker&Co.,
1903. pp. 55-6.