It’s cold here in Delhi! What’s cold? Mid-40’s at night – 50’s by day. The air is wet and the chill is difficult to shake – especially when you don’t have heat – and most people here, don’t. Around the city you see women wearing socks with their flip flops, men wrapped in scarves, bodies lying on the sidewalk bundled in burlap or other scrap fabric. Yesterday, I read a commentary in the paper about bonfires, which is a common way for people to keep warm. The author was waxing poetic about how the bonfire in north India is an invitation, or “motel of warmth” where one can stop, warm your hands and your spirits with others gathered around the flame – and then move on to your destination or to the next bonfire down the road.
Inspired, I joined these women who happened to be on my path this morning:
Notice the cell phone, the knitting, the fire of wood and trash and maybe even cow dung. Here’s a photo of dung cakes. They are mixed with something – grass, hay, corn husks, trash, usable waste of some form. I’m not entirely clear about what goes into the concoction but it’s used for fuel:
And leaving you with a good laugh at my expense, here’s my latest adventure with henna. I exposed my foot to the chill and let a beggar in the park decorate it – only to later discover that she laced me with mud and did a poor job, to boot! (Beware: I haven’t shaved since the beach – you may not want to click on this photo!!)