Fog soup anyone? In Delhi, this is the starter and main course for both rich and poor at the moment.
In John Carpenter’s 1980 (non-Oscar winning) horror movie The Fog, mysterious events, including gruesome deaths, take place after a strange, glowing fog arrives at a town. Delhi may not be the northern California fishing town of Antonio Bay, but the capital city was struck by a Carpenter-sized fog on Wednesday evening. The fact that it descended so suddenly and so early in the evening (around 8.30 pm) did not allow Delhiites to be, as the saying goes, ‘crippled’ by its appearance. Most of us, returning from work, were actually caught in it like pieces of meat in a soup trying to reach home slowly — but as quickly as we could.
Travelling through a fog is exactly what it looks like: travelling through clouds, as a fog is essentially a cloud that’s in contact with the ground. Even as we Delhiites, romanticising everything that we can lay our eyes on, prefer to call the city’s fog blanket a ‘rolling mist’, it would be wise to know that a mist is less dense than a fog. But if it’s gothic qualities we want, gothic qualities we’ll get. The fog that threw traffic, airplanes and trains off schedules, can be seen as a malevolent force that allows the legendary hardworking Delhiite to go to work only after the sun has been sighted and return from work before the same source of light disappears.
Coming less than a week before the annual Republic Day, the fog is also a reminder that caught within its opaque grasp, we’re all blinded. We certainly can’t think of a more non-destructive, egalitarian force of nature. If nothing else, rejoice in the one weather condition that makes the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless all look the same. If they can be seen through the heavy haze, that is.