I and my wife came to Guwahati a few weeks ago. Delhi is brutally cold. You need to put layers of cloths, shut the doors, draw the drapes, turn on the heater to beat the 2 degree December winter. But its almost as if winter sends its sentinel to find its way through the crevices, sneakily crawling up the entrusted armoury of thick cloths, and reaching our skin, that we find ourselves under the weather in no time. I know some of us love winter. “Dilli ki sardi” is so popular that people come from Bangalore to celebrate New years here.
I am a 70 year old retired professional ,and I despise winters. When I muster the courage to go out and and hit the road, I feel like I am seeing the doors of heaven. My bone hurts. Sinus kicks in. My wife is no exception either.
Delhi is good for youngsters trying to make a mark. Tropical climate like those of the northeast India are more suitable for retirees like us. We need to keep ourselves warm all the time to avoid getting sick.
And the only way we could do that was to plan a long stay ahead in such areas until the winter subsides in Delhi.
Without further ado, we booked tickets for our hometown, Guwahati. Weather is relatively better. We realised the timing of our visit was right too. It was magh bihu. A harvest festival celebrated in Assam which marks the end of harvesting season in the month of Maagh (January–February).The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires. Young people erect makeshift huts, known as Meji and Bhelaghar, from bamboo, leaves and thatch, and in Bhelaghar they eat the food prepared for the feast, and then burn the huts the next morning. We enjoy eating a variety of delicacies including khira poda pithas, laadu, sweet curd.
We had to warm up for these sugary delicacies. We packed all the medicines just like a mountaineer prepares his gear for the long journey ahead. Except, in our case, it was a bagful of pills and measuring equipments.
The day we arrived, the laziness already went out the system. We met people like never before. Delhi climate and vastness of the city inhibited us from making any social visits. A festive mood brings joy and helps break the monotony.
We had to make an itinerary of plans to meet all of our friends and cousins.
Surprisingly, we never ate much. Perhaps the post retirement lifestyle made us take care of ourselves more.
Next morning, we did a health check up. Sugar was under control and blood pressure normal. We felt relieved and smiled at the pithas initially cast aside, which is now served with the cup of morning tea.
Sun rises in the east way early than it does in Delhi and you can hear the early chirps of the birds at 5am. Guwahati is surrounded by hills with fogs brushing off them majestically. Its a view to watch from the 4th floor of my apartment.
I pulled my chair into the balcony and read the newspaper. The ring from the bells of the temple chimed in to make this a beautiful morning.
I was able to fulfil my desire to buy a house in a major metropolitan city. Delhi , for instance, speaks volumes of stories about people making it big here and getting recognised for their successes. An IT hub, a place where traditions meet modern sciences, where there is Dilli Haat, there is an Uber waiting for you just a click away, Delhi has been an all time favourite city both for the youngsters and for the 50 somethings. The city hosts various cultural programs. A centre has been dedicated to promote works of budding talents including writers, artists, photographers and the likes. State of the art hospitals such as Medanta treat patients from Europe and Middle-East. There is no dearth of cafes and diners. 5 star resorts and hotels are swarming this place, notoriously frequented by people driving Lamborhinis and Ferraris. Startup culture is rapidly evolving and comparable to those in Silicon valley.
Regardless, I always get enticed by small city life. Its good to see rugged mountains in front of you than see a jungle full of buildings. Taking morning walks along mighty Brahmaputra feel better than an artificial park. Pollution level in Delhi has gone way past the danger zone, creating respiratory illnesses in Children. My health has improved ever since. I am more physically active than before. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in abundance and for cheaper price. Its tastier.
8 kms off the city, there is a corridor of green rugged hills that surrounds a number of naturally formed water bodies. A place less crowded during weekdays and an ideal spot for picnic.
Its raining as I write this article. My wife is getting ready for the evening prayer and leaving for the temple and I have to tag along. Here is a picture below of the temple. Please do stay tuned for updates on my upcoming trip to Kaziranga. I will see you soon.