No, I'm not going to write about Elizabeth Gaskell's compelling industrial novel. Rather, drawing from its title, I'm going to dwell upon the great climactic divide that exists between the north and the south of my country, between a city I love and another which despite my frantic attempts of disownment, clings to me as my second home.
Delhi reels under an all-time low of 1.9 degree Celsius, they say. Off late, it has been reeling under many other lows, a desperate coming together of anger and anguish threatening its very existence. Once again, India's proud capital has been slammed as the most dangerous city for women. Despite the scathing shame, the city trudges along as the ever-bewitching fortress of culture and glamour, and for me, it has always been like the forbidden, fatal lure of an old lover.
It was only last month when I was there, feeling the beginning of the quite popular Dilli ki sardi (Delhi's winter). On a balmy December afternoon, we had wondered amid the enchanting ruins of the Qutub Minar, smitten by its stunning architecture and the cacophony of the restless parrots adorning it. Then on our way back to the hotel, we had devoured steamy momos near a bustling metro station of south Delhi. The husband, being a huge fan of these mouthwatering Himalayan dumplings, has to have them whenever in the city. Later in the evening, I had met a dear old friend over cups of Darjeeling, seasoned with university nostalgia, Rumi and the literary perks of being professional editors. He disclosed his nascent fascination for monkhood, whilst I shared my long-cherished desire to live and teach in a small Himalayan town. It was beautiful - the interweaving of reality and illusion, that dreamy reunion of what was and what could be.