Yes, I am back from my short stint in Delhi and I DID NOT, I repeat, “did not” miss Mumbai. I am going to have to back track a bit from the time I left this maddening city, because there are some important details I do not wish to miss. This is how my Diwali started on the auspicious morning of the 26h of October – it was NOT a Happy Diwali for me: Unlike the 25th of October where I jumped out of bed at 7:30 am, the 26th of October shot me out of bed at 6:30 am. Yes, the blasting of firecrackers began at 6:30 am and I was sooooo infuriated that I could not sleep in as I had an afternoon flight to catch and needed some rest.
I arrived in Delhi at 4:30 pm and was treated to cool weather; breeze and mild temperatures dominated the country’s capital and it was such a treat to walk around without breaking a sweat. The evening was spent as Diwali should be truly spent: having a quiet dinner with family and lighting lamps outside the house. Here are some pictures:
Here is a picture of the lighting of the diyas (lamps) that are traditionally burnt by using a thick bundle of cotton as the wick and having it rest in oil which is contained in a clay lamp. This lighting of the lamps was originally done when Rama returned home after saving his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana. The lamps were a symbolic way of welcoming Rama back home.
And this picture is the lighting of the diyas outside the entrance of the house:
Of course, all this business of celebrating Diwali in a traditional, peaceful, and quiet way all went out the window at around 9 pm when the cacophony of firecrackers began. And it continued till I left Delhi…. 4 bloody days of noise pollution!!
The nights in Delhi were cool, so cool that i need a shawl in the late evenings and early mornings….and we are still only in October where one would think that Delhi would still be warm, if not hot. In any case, I was not complaining. We rented a car and driver and took a one day road trip to the state of Uttar Pradesh, where we ventured into Fatehpur Sikri and further onto Agra, taking in the sights of the Taj Mahal and other remains of the great Mogul Empire.
The state next to Delhi, is called Harayana, which, once upon a time was a lush green, underdeveloped state. Now, this state, particularly the city where I lived in, Grugaon, is littered with shopping malls and…..yes, more shopping malls. The week that I was there also happened to be the debut of the Formula 1 race in India, being showcased in Delhi, and the F 1 fever was on. One the malls advertised F1 in grand style, and although I am ambivalent about my feelings regarding India hosting its first ever F1, I am sharing a picture of the life size advertisement I saw in one of the malls:
I landed in Mumbai in the wee hours of the 30th morning, only to enter a very humid and damp home. It was such a shock to my system, coming from the very cool and crisp weather in Delhi to the humidity of Mumbai, all in a matter of a couple of hours flight. The entire day continued to be warm and sticky and I tried to think cool thoughts hoping that I may get some relief. Oh! How I was tempted to open a chilled beer and chug away, but refrained from doing so as I am now begining to develop some kind of respiratory illness: sneezing relentlessly and coughing intermittently.Perhaps a reaction to all the air pollution?
And now, as I am trying to relax into the night and type away my blog, the firecrackers continue outside. This is adding to the already warm temperatures, making my life unbearably miserable. Indeed, 5 days after Diwali, and this noise business continues to persist like an annoying mosquito that just won’t go away.
So, I am back in Mumbai, and find it difficult to be back here. It really surprised me that I did not miss it at all. Of course, I missed my cat and she was not pleased, one bit, that she had to deal with the blasting sounds and noise all by herself.