Before bed a few nights ago, Aliyah put on my down jacket. And a ski hat. And gloves. And thick winter socks. And a scarf. Then we double-mummied her in two big blankets.
"My face is still cold," she said.
It's arctic in India.
A lot of people assume it's unbearably hot here all year. I was once such a person. When we moved here, I brought one thin sweater and a light jacket. "Who needs a winter coat in India?" I wondered with silent sarcasm.
December and January in Delhi have been numbing. Temperatures this week have hovered around freezing. That's not so bad, I suppose, compared to our winter last year in New York, or the winter before that I spent in Colorado. But at least in those places, I had central heating. No such luck here.
Our house, like many here, is built to breathe. The tile floors remain cool even when it's sweltering outside, and the house's thin wood walls don't trap much heat. That's great in August. It's awful in January. When I work at my desk, I routinely lose feeling in several toes. Some nights, it seems as if it's colder inside our house than it is outside.
We do still have hot water (though because it only comes out of a waist-level tap, to use it we have to fill up a big bucket and shower by scooping small buckets of hot water out of the larger one). And the sun is still shining. And the cheap heater we bought from a nearby market raises the temperature in our house at least a few degrees.
But make no mistake -- winter in New Delhi is freezing. I'll probably eat these words when I'm languishing in 120-degree weather in June, but here it goes anyway. I wish it were summer.