I’ve not been here long, but already the heat has struck, clawing away at me, having gained the upper hand almost instantaneously, embarrassingly withstanding any effort I could muster at relinquishing its grasp. I’m a mere spectator gazing in awe at its ambitious plans.
Not even pure, cool water can alleviate the pressure. My every pore is like a rushing waterfall, withdrawing vital liquids at about the same rate as I blink away the sweat that prays upon my sight, attempting to create a blockade against the onrushing beast that attacks my eyes, and almost every inch of my body.
I take a deep breath, as is often my natural reaction in these situations, but my throat is clogged, rasping within my cavities and debilitating my every function, fiery hot boiling air strangles my motions.
I wipe my forehead, in an act of futile petulance and am mocked without so much as a notice.
I draw myself back in and acknowledge my surroundings, allowing the noises to gently flow into range and, as minutes pass, start to relax and agree that in the battle of man versus nature such as this, there is only one winner, especially when that man is me, a fragile, confused newcomer in a foreign, albeit already trodden, land.
Then suddenly, like a barking dog stepping out from a darkened moon lit alley, I’m enraptured by a complex, if not subtly simple, sweet and sour, sickly but fresh smell that envelopes my circumference and takes hold of my thoughts, I’m losing myself once more as I float off into a world of beautiful, bold and gripping colours that run past, smoke vaguely rises from unseen vestiges, hooting of antique horns, deafening beeping and shouts that cry and laugh almost simultaneously, I’m sure, muddled into the mix I sense kindness as if it were a tangible substance, gaining growth by my presence.
I breathe in once more, this time I feel the air reach deeper within, not completely satisfied, but more at ease and definitely more relaxed than during its previous adventure moments before. A face slides into view, and I almost believe it’s looking at me. It goes as suddenly as it arrived, along with any notion of its presence. My eyes are darting from side to side within their sockets, capturing the movements and ballerina like motions of the passing pedestrians, watching as they intermingle and connect, two-step and tango between spaces and gaps, acknowledge and ignore, spit and cough, smile and scorn, there’s offerings and withdrawals, a microcosm of existence existed within my view.
I felt looked after, almost lucky, but also something else, perhaps deeper, rawer, cleaner, something that I know now was a knowledge that at a time in the future, not too far from then, even such as this very moment, I would realise that nature, in the form of man and women’s majestic presence, had, before my very eyes, conquered nature, in its most severe form of uncompromising climate, to the point where I, although wet through, had cooled, relaxed and was starting to exist peacefully in my new environment, enjoying the unfolding reality of my world and its makers, movers and shakers.
I gather myself as if my life depended on it, when the truth was, it was just the day I had awoken to that depended on it, or more that I depended on gathering myself and my belongings, packing and catching and moving on out of here for the sake of my sanity.
The on rush to my senses the previous day had done maximum damage and I needed out, away from the streets and into the nature, towards air, clean, cool air.
Night time brings slight respite from the day time struggles and survival between stops in the unforgiving blaze of the red raw sunshine. I’ve started to forget what being dry felt like
Delhi, India // 20"06"2011