Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Foggy Christmas

I woke up at 4 am, and looked through the grille door to see if the star I had put out was out. My daughter and son in law had bought it  for me, two months ago from Dastkar Dilli Haat, in an obscure metro- end- of- delhi site. It was red embossed paper work, and promised peacefulness to all where ever it was hung. Many of us, born in the 50s, are secular in disposition, which means celebrating all festivals equally. It also means we enjoy all the government holidays: halwa for guru nanak's birthday, oil diyas from the potter at diwali, kheer for Isaac and his brother Ishmael at Eid, and paper stars at christmas. Traders are generally secular in disposition, since they provide goods and utensils and ornaments at fairs around religious sites. Once the international companies joined the fray, then diwali became embossed in cards and gifts in crystal and gold, and equally new year and christmas got incorporated in new styles of merry making. The quiet of home became replaced with traffic jams and shopping. I missed all the new changes in festivities, because I basically stayed home, and never set out to do anything at all. I like the calm of being at home, and experience the joy of the festival, including making kheer on Eid, because nothing takes away the sense of being Here and Now. Sometimes, friends come over on Christmas, but quite often, there is only the children and me at home, sleeping late and generally enjoying the holiday, so the Good Governance day injunction has gone by without any discernible change in our life, rather like Haloween Day, which is now celebrated in Delhi, quite arbitrarily, where Death roves so free and without chains. I suppose the bourgeoisie, even in radical outposts like universities, feel at home in the world wherever they are, since their meals are always taken care of, and they have all the other seven attributes of the human rights charter. Can we make it easier for others? That's the question I always pedagogically ask my self.
The fog has made one wonder if climate change will result in snow one winter in Delhi. Like an artificial desert, we now have extreme climates, which leave one completely breathless, whether it is the sudden plummeting from 22 degrees to 4 degrees C, without warning, or in April, we suddenly let our bodies roast in 36 degrees, after a sudden shift from  blowing dust to white heat. And then it goes upto 46 degrees, and we run out early in the morning to buy cucumbers and melons and limes to see us through the heat of the day. Adaptation is the only trick we have up our sleeve, and while we freeze in winter, we just cannot remember the summer. The fog lifts, the sun comes out, the squirrels and the birds venture out, and so do we. When the sun goes away for two days, we think we are entering a tunnel without light, and hope for it to pass. Yet, when one wears coat and shoes and scarf, the winter is bearable, and the early morning glimmer of light at 8 a.m seems shockingly beautiful.

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