Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Delhi Summer



After passing out of college some of my good hostel friends went to Delhi to start their career. The market was badly hit by recession those days. Well, I didn’t know much about recession and all; the only thing I knew was that none of the companies were hiring freshers. After staying at home for a couple of months I was absolutely bored. I felt a sense of anxiety at the reality of my situation. I didn’t have any clue what to do in life and simply decided to go to Delhi to my friends. It was the month of March, so we didn’t encounter the lethal winter. Even though none of us had a job, but life in Delhi was cool.  I smelled freedom yet again, as if I was out of my cage and could fly like a free bird. 

The weather in Delhi was pleasant initially, particularly in the evening; the moderately chilly breeze felt sumptuous. We stayed at a place named ‘East of Kailash’. The place was considered to be a posh area, but we lived in a ‘Dhobi’ washerman’s colony. For the first time I witnessed a modern ‘dhobi ghat’ where they washed cloths in some giant washing machines. One day, my good friend Javed came to meet us. He was staying in Delhi for the last few months and was familiar with the surroundings. He lived in Lajpat Nagar and it was not very far from our place. In the evening he took us for a walk to show his locality. We visited Lajpat Nagar market. There was a person who was selling soup in his thela. There was a huge queue and I wondered if the man was distributing soup for free. Javed said that his soup was very famous and his business was at boom in the winter. My friends wanted to taste it, but I was not very interested. Well, I was more into solid food and some hard core liquids. I considered soup kind of stuff as luxury and a waste of money. But I was quite fascinated with the price of the soup, there. There were a few varieties and the usual chicken soup was priced at Rs 10. I thought it was worth a try.

'For Rs 10, even if I get the smell of chicken that would be more than enough,' I wondered.

Without much expectation I also lined up in the queue. When I got my bowl of soup, Oh dear! I was mesmerized with the aroma. It was so refreshing and also there was adequate amount of solid chicken in my bowl. It was delicious and that was one of the best soup I ever had.

A few days later, one chilly evening, I had a craving for that soup. I asked my friends, but nobody was interested to go that far. So I went alone, had my soup and returned. On my way back home, I was lost. I knew I was somewhere near ‘East of Kailash’, but I was utterly confused.
I asked one middle aged and a decent looking man, 'Uncle Ji, ye, East of Kailash kidhaar hai?'(Could you please tell me where is East of Kailash?)

'Aree Behenchod, East of Kailash pe khade hoke poochta hai ki East of Kailash kidhaar hai'

The man replied sharply and in a rather weird manner, with the F-word.  He tried to convey me that I was already in East of Kailash. I was totally stunned with his behavior; not that I wasn’t used to such  holy words, in fact I preached those with my friends. But I never expected that from an elderly stranger and I was a little disappointed. The man then asked me where exactly I had to go in East of Kailash and guided me properly. Within a few days I understood that entire Delhi was just like a hostel where people love to greet others with one F-word or another, just to add a little more intimacy, a little more love and a little more gravity to their greetings. 

Time passed by and soon we started to feel the Delhi heat. I noticed the Delhi men got busy with their coolers in their balconies. Summer had arrived. We were aware of Delhi summer, but experiencing it for the first time was a different matter altogether. Initially it was hot, then it became unpleasantly hot and then the heat turned brutal and unbearable. Delhi summer had really frightened me. Neither I nor any of my friends had a job that time. Forget about Air Conditioner, we didn’t even have one of those local made coolers. After lunch we usually passed time in a nearby cyber cafe. Using internet was secondary for us and our primary intention was to enjoy the AC there. The cafe guy had already increased the price by Rs 5 per hour. So instead of two, three of us started to occupy the same computer. During the day I gulped enough quantity of the street lemonade. I was quite fascinated with the special looking bottles sealed with a marble stuck inside them. Those were served chilled with fresh lime juice and the special Masala. The street lemonades were like saviors and they cooled us off for a while.

Our life was a little normal after dark. That was the time when I experienced how it feels to treat 10 pm as evening rather than night. But I remember that some nights were equally brutal as the days. Those nights I used to have shower multiple times, after every hour. Immediately after shower I used to stand under the fan. It felt really good, kind of cooler effect. But the water droplets on my body would disappear within a minute and soon the heat started to strike all over again. Our room had turned into a heater and the walls were radiating heat all around. I felt I was in hell. On a few occasions I had thrown a bucket of water at my cotton mattress. It worked for a few minutes and then I felt as if I was sleeping in a big pot of boiling water. Well, I had many sleepless nights that summer. I remember there was a sugarcane juice stall near to our colony. The guy used to come early in the morning to start his business and a few times, I was his first customer for the day. Unable to get any sleep for the entire night I went to that juice stall. I found the guy was not ready yet, he was still busy settling his stuff. Once he was ready, I gulped four to five glasses of icy chilled sugarcane juice and returned to my room. The juice inside my body somehow managed to resist the heat outside and finally I was able to get some sleep.

These days, a serious power crisis is going on in Delhi. I can’t imagine how the people are surviving without power, there. On top of that, the summer is ruthless this time; I’ve heard that sometimes the mercury rises beyond 48 degree Celsius.

50 comments:

  1. I have experienced the Dilli ki Sardi & Garmi & both are something. Phew!
    Nice & interesting story, Jahid :)

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    1. Yes, every season is extreme, be it winter, summer or monsoon as well :) Glad uou enjoyed the post. Thanks for dropping by, Anita :)

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  2. interesting, as i had heard of the heat wave & outages here in the US...just today i was googling for Delhi temperatures...

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    1. Delhi summer is horrible and the heatwaves are too deadly. So, in US also similar places are there. Glad you liked the post and thanks a lot for dropping by, dear !!

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    2. in my corner of Ohio, we see snow 6 months out of the year...quite different!

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    3. The place must be very fascinating!!

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  3. Yup its true ! delhi ki sardi and Garmi both are too much but may be because I was born and brought up there.. Its fine with me ... when living in the University hostel , the positive side of the June heat was no mosquito/fly/insect dared to breed.... so we could study in night peacefully with rooms windows open for ventilation! read your 'poonam-rajiv' posts ..Lol... joining the site :)

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    1. Nice to know some positive side of Delhi summer :) So glad you enjoyed the post and also the 'poonam-rajiv' one :) Thanks a lot for dropping by, Kokila !!

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  4. PS the image of lemon on soda-masala bottles is very good and an essentially north thing! Craving for them.

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    1. Yes, those things are life savior. A glass of it really cools off people!!

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  5. Yes I can understand your problem, Delhi is too hot in summer :)

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    1. Haha.. Aunt Mary :) it was pathetic for me !!

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  6. Ha ha ha:):D Delhi is cool! Dilli dil waalon ki:)

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    1. Bilkul sahi, Amit Sir :) Dilli dil waalon ki :) Thanks for dropping by!!

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  7. ha ha ha ha ha ha that was damn interesting to read..:-D

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    1. Thanks Issac :) glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for dropping by !!

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  8. Yeah i remember the area you are talking about,East of Kailash. Hahaha the people of Delhi talk very rudely yes and for people of Assam and north-east it is a culture shock for the first time!! I had written about Delhi summer in my blog some time ago.Summer time so could relate well to this..
    http://nimadas.blogspot.in/2014/03/its-summer-time-again.html

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    1. Yes Nima, it was a bit shocking initially :) Read your Delhi summer post and it's very interesting. Thanks for dropping by !!

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  9. Human body can get sued to anything, live here and get used to it :D

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    1. Yes Mridula, Human body can get used to anything, be it extreme temperature, headache or dental pain:) Thanks a lot for dropping by !!

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  10. That was an interesting post! I studied in Delhi and was there for close to 4 years - so have survived the summers and winters. The soda bottles that you have mentioned is called Goli Soda or Banta! :)
    Read a little more on Bangalore/Delhi differences here - http://happinessandfood.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/bangalore-vs-delhi/
    Parul :)

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    1. Thanks Parul :) glad you enjoyed the post. Haha.. that's a very interesting name "Goli Soda or Banta" :) Read about your version of Bangalore-Delhi differences and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks a lot for visiting out here, Parul !!

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    1. Thanks Payal :) glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for dropping by !!

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  12. Woow Jahid Bhai what a wonderful illustration of your summer days in Delhi, all those little experiences that you remember and cherish ... was fun reading it !

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    1. Thanks Aziz Bhai :) Glad you enjoyed the post and love to read about my experiences. Thanks for dropping by !!

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  13. Ask me i am here...yeah ruthless...nice post. Like that pic and let me tell u what they call it here Banta...very refreshing and i love it. Yeah the heat is bad it is dry and it sort of burns. A friend from Chennai visited recently and had put it as her status message on facebook calling Delhi a Sauna...
    But we are the blessed souls with privileges...there are those out there in the heat working because they have no option despite the power crisis...yeah we must all at least feel kindly towards them. i guess that's why people in Delhi especially the hard workers are so pissed off all the time and they can't talk a single sentence without the f word. Forgive them.
    Quite recently statistics show that people on the roads of Delhi are also angry most of the time and i wonder if apart from traffic snarls and stressful life bad inclement weather is also one factor that contributes to this growing rage...

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    1. Yes, life would be so difficult for the hard workers.Such extreme weather condition definitely contributes to some growing rage. I have heard that today it rained in Delhi. So I played the role of Tansen :) Thanks a lot for such a lovely comment, Shivani !!

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  14. As usual a treat to read your memoirs Jahid!

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    1. Thanks Rajeev :) glad you enjoy my memoirs. Thanks for dropping by !!

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  15. WElcome ot the north :)

    In hostel what we did was .. before going ot bed, go and have a shower and take a bed sheet and rinse it in cold water .. and then come and lie down on bed under the fan with the bedsheet .. and beleive me it was Cool air :)

    Bikram

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    1. Hehe Bikram, in that case instead of mattress I should have tried with my bed sheet :) But our room was a heater, I think the bed sheet would have got dried soon :)

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  16. You always make any topic a interesting read Jahid. I am scared of Delhi climate now.

    Sorry for visiting after a long time. I Will make sure to be around more often :)

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    1. Aha, so nice to see uou Sonia. You are one of my oldest blogger friend :) where were you all these days? Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks a lot for dropping by !!

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  17. Lucky me..I have seen only Delhi ki zardi..that too a mild variety. Your post was fun.

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    1. Haha Preethi, Dilli ki Garmi nahi dekha to fir kya dekha? :) You should experience it sometimes. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks a lot for dropping by !!

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  18. Interesting post as always.Power crisis is not much as hyped by media ,long cuts are limited to few areas only but yes heat waves and high temperature is breaking all previous records. The use of abusive words is common in Delhi dialect ,most people consider them part of daily conversation. I think you should beep that word here in your post.

    The Other Side

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    1. Nice to know that power crisis is not much as hyped by media. Yes, such holy words are part of daily conversation, there. Glad that you like my posts and had enjoyed this one also :) Just thinking how to beep it :) thanks for dropping by, dear !!

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  19. The rain blessed Delhi today, Jahid, thanks to your compassion for us Delhiites. It was 48 degrees the other day. This oscillation between one degree in winter and fifty in summer makes Delhiites fond of F words, I think. You hear them everywhere.

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    1. Nice to know that it rained today in Delhi. I must have played the role of Tansen unknowingly :) Yes, such extreme weather conditions can make people fond of such holy words. Thanks a lot for dropping by, Tomichan Sir !!

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  20. I have experienced Delhi's winter when I'd been there but not summer.
    Interesting read. :)

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    1. You should experience Delhi summer sometimes, Kiran Ji :) Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks a lot for visiting out here !!

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  21. Enjoyed reading your post... though not from Delhi i stayed their for my job and faced the lethal heat of summers and the chilly winters...

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Farah. Yes, both summer and winter are extreme in Delhi. Thanks a lot for dropping by !!

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  22. Dear Jahid,

    Having lived and worked in Delhi for 2 years, i agree wholeheartedly with what you have to say regarding heat....more ever, initially i was living in Sant Nagar, which is near East of Kailash, and like you i too got lost but thanks to my friends, i bailed myself out by using their expert guidance on mobile :).....nice post as always...keep writing ...cheers :)

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    1. Nice to know you stayed near East of Kailash and you too had gone lost, there :) Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks a lot for visiting out here, Deekay !!

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  23. Yes Delhi`s summer and winter both are horrible! Very well written !!

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    1. Thanks Gargi :) Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks a lot for visiting out here !!

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  24. A very nice account of your Delhi experience - extreme weather condition!!!

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    1. Yes, Delhi weather conditions are extreme, both in summer and in winter. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for dropping by, Jayanta !!

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