Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Delhi, during Diwali- You beautiful beast.

If you’re from/around Delhi and see a manically grinning, 20 something girl, that’d be me.
Or my doppelganger.

One can never be sure.

Delhi in November or exactly ten days before Diwali, is magical. I know, most people say that about New York in the Fall, or London in that one perfect week of August.
Delhi however, tops that.

New York in the fall is poetic. There is an earnest desire to hold on to the hot summer days, all the while knowing that this is just a perfect, magical evening full of conversation and Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy may never meet again.
London, in August is optimistic; It’s hard to be depressed when you’re having a night cap and the sun pretty much refuses to set !
Delhi, before Diwali is the opposite of these epithets. It’s marked by smog and fairly chilly nights. Where New York autumn has yearning and London has optimism, Delhi has a racing heartbeat, and a body pumping way too much adrenalin.
Everyone knows that soon, winter will be upon us. There is no central heating to be had, and the fog will claim lives (both of men and helpless canine). Before the plummeting temperature becomes a conversation starter, we have Diwali and the week leading up to it.

This time is almost an assault to the senses. For all their lit up splendour, the evenings have a quiet silence. As if a million people, at the same time, for now, are at peace and you can touch it. If you stand really still, you can hear the rustle of kurtas before you hear actual footsteps. The smell of burnt wicks, collectively chorus in the air. And it is impossible not to taste early winter on your skin and fingertips

There is an other worldly, conspiracy in the air- you can’t move your car out of your neighbourhood, without being blinded by the symphony of a thousand, blinking lights. All festooned haphazardly around one house, mind you. There is grace in the loud laughter, at no other time will people lose money with as much abandon. But my favourite thing about this time of the year, by far, is the people.

Everyone is out-  Out of their homes, out of the worries boxing them in, out on the streets- the self-sufficient world of apartment floors and people hunched over their laptops in bad lighting, is replaced with people on the streets and in each other’s homes. People usually straitjacketed into corporate wear, come alive in brighter clothes and festive threads. Most neurosis are also checked at the door.

If you think about it hard enough, and remember that time, back in the day.

Delhi, on Diwali is like a teenager falling in love. Heady, hopeful, much too excited and desperate to see the feeling right to its very end.
Photo Credit: Here