One winter, I spent in Delhi, covering the Asian Games. It was an uncomfortable winter spent in a red cardigan (Haryana wools) bought in Janpath or whatever that area is called, lined withshops and tourists in chappplas.
Yatri Nivas like most of the Asian Games facilities, Rajiv Gandhi or no Rajiv Gandhi, was only half complete. The windows would not close, the wind blowing through them would scatter the builders dust on the rough floor the bathrooms had either cold water or no water.
Outside Delhi was wralpped up in mufflers, tied once round the head then twice around the neck, probably made of Haryana wool . the mufflers made all Delhi males look like rickshaw-wallas.
One winter 15 days of the winter I spent in Germany. I wore a flannel shirt (blue), a thick cardigan, (borrowed and blue), a jacket, an overcoat (borrowed and grey). They made me look fat and most of the Germans I met during the 15 days were surprised and kept saying that they thought all kept saying that they thought all Indians were thin and starved, because they were always fasting.
The ignorance of India in Germany is amazing second only to that in the rest of the world.
But it was lovely winter, a winter of snow, not just cold wind and dust. Outside the Lufthansa sircraft, the world was freezing several degrees below zero. And from the large windows of the trains, as they sped from Heidelberg to Munich I could see lines of pine forests a quarter buried in snow like a real X’ mas card, not one with an oil lamp.
One whole winter I spent in London most of the time comfortably burried in a warm underground kitchen of the Cumberland Hotel, where I began my hotel and cwtering career as a dishwasher and ended it as a kitchen clerk. And ended it as a kitchen clerk. On another occasion, I will explain the duties of kitchen clerk.
It was a strange winter, not now but fog and smog. From my wages at the Cumberland Hotel, I bought a green Scotswool cardigan. I must have looked rather odd, brown Indian in a green Scost cardigan. But the British are a very discreet people, they never commented on it.
It was the most sun-less winter of my life most of the time it was grey and night would descend at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Still when winter turned into spring, the overnight change in the weather, grey London turning into a parkland green, was worth all the dreariness of the winter. Ah, to be in England, now that the spring is here.
And this morning it is winter in Bombay. The first thing I have to do is to decide whether to wear the red Delhi cardigan or the green London cardigan.