The first rays of sun had to stretch itself to pass through the thick "snowish" fog of the early hours in Delhi. After a great deal of refraction, diffusion, absorption and all that jazz, the filtered watered-down light could finally reach our balcony and illuminate the pink Petunias and Carnations. The morning breeze had a distinct edge as it took its first nick on my bristled cheek. The Kashmiri shawl, erstwhile kept as a fashion statement seemed to be an absolute necessity today. I peeped down from the balcony and noted that our rigorous bunch of health freaks (buggers whose early morning antiques cause guilt-pangs in my ever-increasing pot-belly) have all donned thick woolens, lending a very asexual snowman-like look to them.
My coffee cup had gone cold and I wondered whether this weather justifies a second cup of caffeine so early in the day, when I felt a human presence behind me. I turned around to discover the missus of the house with some additional features ; a nose like Rudolf, a voice like Rani Mukherjee and a forlorn look like Meena Kumari. The diagnosis was simple; the Delhi winters have arrived.
For the less informed ones - we don't use thermometers to detect temperature at our place. Fancy concepts like "wind chill factor" have little or no appeal to us. Instead, all three of us in the house are like thermal weather-cocks - having thermal sensitivity tuned to detect every degree C variation with an alarming accuracy.
Take my case. My nose is so famously tuned to dT/dt (for people who are less mathematically inclined - rate of change of temperature w.r.t time) that every variation of temperature causes me to get into a bout of rapid-fire sneezing. This usually is followed by the outer cuticle of the nose becoming hard and brittle while the inner recesses of the nose, remaining moist. The overall effect is somewhat like a well-made cheese omlette - well cooked from outside but slightly running in the inside. Once the temperature stabilizes, all these bouts of machine-gun firing ceases and I just have a mild headache - the intensity of which determines the ambient temperature. Simple, isn't it?
With my wife, things work rather differently. Despite having plenty of warm clothing, she refuses to wear them under the pretext of "what will I then wear when it becomes even more cold". Then her body temperature seem to follow some sort of a sharp saw-tooth waveform - suddenly becomes extremely warm and then drops down to shivering cold in a matter of minutes though the ambient temperature fluctuates in a much more regularized manner. This usually causes her to have influenza and renders her unfit for a few days. People who know her will find this strange as she is known to weather much more painful stuffs like migraine, gastritis and high fevers easily and continue working even under this situation. Influenza, apparently, attacks her like those guerrilla troops with an utter disregard to Geneva conventions and leads to a complete collapse. This seemed to be the present case.
As a dutiful husband, I made a logical recommendation : let's go to a doctor. This was met with utter contempt and complete disregard "Visit a doctor for common cold?" . Second step was to recommend some house-medications like vapour treatment which was also rejected under the clause "yesterday I tried it and see what is my state today". Instead, my wife posted her status in the facebook. And voila - a volley of suggestions landed into our doorsteps from the cyberspace. The suggestions ranged from simple ones like "wear a sock" and "take a hot compress" till more complicated ones like "use a nebulizer". We tried all of them with varied degree of results. I also added my two bits into it by making "Rum Toddy" and making my wife drink it. This seemed to temporarily ease her breathing troubles but had some serious side-effects like wanting to watch a movie called "Namaste London". People who have seen this flick will know what am talking about. For people who haven't seen it - preserve it for a cold desperate day.
It is now 10 pm. Being a Saturday night, the cars have become infrequent and the outside road quiet. The street-side dogs have also become peaceful, probably after a hectic day of barking at the cars. And my wife read out the latest Facebook suggestion : "Go see a doctor tomorrow".
We looked at each other and promptly fixed up an appointment with a doctor at 11 am tomorrow.
The famed Delhi winter has really really arrived now.