Winter is my favorite season of the year and winter in Delhi is special .
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Today again I woke up to a dense foggy morn .The chill in the air at six in the morn cut through the bones and all I could see outside was ghostly trees enveloped in early morn fog.It seemed a scene out of some spooky scary movie.Something I love more than anything else.My mind raced as different story plots emerged from my natural surroundings.
I decided to brave the weather and go for my usual morning walk .By six thirty ,I was out on the cold dark road .The dogs were cuddled under the staircases of different blocks ,sleeping to glory.I could not spot a single bird ,not even pigeons ,who are normally huddled together on window sills .
It sure seemed like a bad idea to go forward ,as the visibility was nil and my nose seemed like a dripping ice cube .
The long straight road that leads to the big park called Vasant Vatika was luring me and I started to imagine myself as part of the Sleepy Hollow story.A light dew shower fell on me as I walked under the heavy drooping trees along side the road .
The wet misty vehicles parked on the sides emerged slowly as I neared them .The windows streaked with dripping dew ..I imagined I saw something move inside one of them and peered closely .
Yes ,there was a young man inside the dark car,wearing a jogging suit,rubbing his hand to keep the cold at bay .He gave me a strange look ,thinking I may be bonkers to roam around on such a day.I decided to brighten up his day by passing a smile which was neither reciprocated nor appreciated . Damn him , I thought and moved ahead .
Nothing stirred and there was a complete eerie silence everywhere . I had almost reached the gates of the park which I imagine to be the entrance to some long forgotten cemetery .The park seemed empty except a few stray dogs and the watchman warming himself with last of what would have been a nice fire sometime back .
I asked him if it was alright to go into the park and he replied that there were quite a few regulars there .I was surprised because all I could see was shadows of tree tops lurking in the white thick fog .
The gate was icy cold and wet to touch.I went in and took the nearest track.Any other person would have got chill up their spine but not Me 🙂 ,I was thoroughly enjoying this creepy adventure of mine . The visibility was still low but I could make out some more people in various parts of the park .
So I was not alone . I smiled to myself ,not that I would have minded being alone in such a lovely scenario .I inhaled the fresh morn air , stretched my arms and started my brisk walk .
The regular joggers were missing .Maybe it was too much of an effort for them to step out in cold and dark .Only creatures like me ventured to take on the challenges of the dark .
I started turning the nature around me into characters of my sneaky spine chilling mysteries of the unexplained.It was fun and kept me warmed up.
Then I heard the footsteps behind me .Slow and rhythmic.I turned around to see who it was but as far as my eyes could see, the track appeared empty.
Was my imagination running a bit too wild ?? I kept walking at a steady pace.My ears now glued to the ground And then I heard them again They seemed very close but still not a sign of anyone .The fog was still thick or maybe I should have got my glasses . May be anther jogger ,but why was he/she stopping when I turned ?? The question now started bothering me .
I decided to take a middle path instead of the full round when I felt the hand on my shoulder . My heart missed a beat for a fraction of a second.However I may love the macabre , chilling , ghost stories , I was not ready for this one for sure . Slowly I turned , my face must have been the color of snow,because the person I faced, went into a hysterical laughter .
I gathered my senses and stared at my friend and neighbor with anger rising like a volcano inside me .
“W T F”, I screamed at him as he wiped his eyes laughing and talking at the same time .
“Well ! well! look at you ,The Queen of Dark .hahahahahhaa “.”You look like a dead woman walkin’.”
“You son of a gun ,you scared the s*** out of me man “. I said punching him square on his chest .
“Oh! I am sorry but the moment I saw you all absorbed in the thoughts, I was so tempted to see your reaction.”He smiled as he put an arm around me .
“Christ ! I thought someone just stepped out of my story and started following me “I said.
“Oh ,come on girl I will treat you to a hot roadside tea ,you sure need one ”
I hated this man but gave a smile instead .A hot cup was sure the need of the hour , though I would have preferred something stronger.
We completed the routine and walked till the end of the road where the business had just started .A few people were already digging into salted fans(crispies) and sipping hot sweet tea.We ordered two and parked ourselves on the pavement nearby .
Some morning it was .I checked the time ,it was around seven thirty.After our cuppa we strolled down the lanes till our block .I thanked him for the tea and we decided to go together the next day .Just as I closed my main door I shouted to him
“Hey buddy !Thanks for makin’ my creepy morn come alive .”He waved and said “you still rock girl ,any other girl would have fainted on seeing the man inside a wet, foggy, parked car. ”
“What”??? I be damned .
He winked and closed the door .