Early-morning. In Kasturba Gandhi Marg: the biker in a full-sleeved shirt. In Hauz Khas: the ruins disappearing under the kohra. In a bungalow in Green Park: blankets drying off on balcony railings. In Kinari Bazaar: quilts on sale. In Matia Mahal: beggars wrapped up in woollen shawls.
We have a copy of William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns — A Year in Delhi. We flip through it, and stop at Page 46.“…October was a season of strange and fiery sunsets… Compared with the months before the temperature was suddenly quite bearable. Up in the high Himalayas the first snow had begun to fall and cool winds were blowing down, quenching the fires of the plains. Though it was still very warm...”
We are standing in Connaught Place. This doesn’t really feel like October. The air is still warm. The park above the Palika Bazaar Parking lot is empty. Its grass still has patches of brown. In winters, it should be wet and green. The park ought to be crowded with people, wanting to bask in Delhi’s warm sunlight. But this morning is so hot, even though November is so close. The sky is not totally blue. Far away, the LIC building is shimmering behind a dusty haze. The pigeons too, are flying restlessly.
Searching for shade? There are hedges, plants and flowers, but no trees, no shade. No refuge from the heat that has become only less intolerable now.Looking for shade We take a few steps on the lane skirting the park above Palika Bazaar and suddenly chance upon the LIC building. This time there is no haze around it. Instead, two giant trees are framing it into a pleasant portrait (see pic). We slip in. Suddenly, there is shade. The air is nippy. Almost cold. Ah, now it is late October.