After three days of choking-level air pollution, it’s a glorious morning here in Delhi!
Today’s the 6th of November. I began the day with 90 minutes of pre-dawn yoga, followed by a brisk two-kilometre walk. Now, energized by a hearty breakfast and healing kaapi, I check the Air Quality Index on the Weather Bureau site. It announces that the PM 2.5 particulate emissions are a mere 210 micrograms/cubic metre at 9 a.m.
That’s wonderful… 210 mcg/m3 is not even four times the maximum safety level of 60 mcg/m3 … why, it’s almost as good as being in Bhutan!
I wipe my smarting eyes and breathe deeply of the pleasantly chill light-brown air, revelling in the tingling sensation that courses through the entire body and mind as the lungs fill with a perfectly-blended mix of SO2, NO2 and CO, flavoured with delicate hints of ozone and hydrogen cyanide and just a touch of that rare element, oxygen…
Forgive me the laboured sarcasm, O most valued Reader; but I’ve finally understood that it’s futile taking the issue of air pollution, or indeed any issue at all, very seriously in our beloved India that is Bharat. Three years ago, in 2016, I actually took the issue of air pollution seriously enough to write about it [please click here to read it]. But now I realize that nothing’s changed since then, except for the worse.
Instead of wasting my breath in gasping rants
At Kejriwal and Goel, and their many sycophants
I abandon the idiocy of all netas and affiliated fools
For the serenity of hills and rills, still quiet pools…
Let Delhi and its denizens make Haze while the Sun shines!
I’ll find refuge in flowery meadows, sighing pines…
In this illuminated and detoxified spirit, I recollect and relive four wonderful days I spent in the quiet little town of Barog, near Shimla, in late September 2017. I stayed with my dear friends Micky and Abha: their warmth, their generosity and hospitality helped me shed decades of accumulated stresses and blues, and rediscover the joy and wisdom of simply BEING.
I’ve written earlier about walking up to the old army cantonment of Dagshai during this visit. [You can read it here]. Here are some more photos from that time. A mere four days’ R&R; yet for me they evoke memories to draw on for a lifetime…
On the way up: Himalayan Queen
In and around home
Dagshai Cantonment – seen from terrace
A dreamy day in Kasauli
Barog railway station
There’s no road to/from Barog railway station. There’s only a steep, 400-metre path leading down through the forest from the Old Shimla Road. So Micky dropped me off at a signpost showing where the path begins, and I followed the path down…and down….
At Barog station
I never imagined I’d enjoy waiting for a train so much. I spent just over an hour at the station, during which I met only four souls: the cheerful Asst Station Master, an ancient and sleepy gangman; the young man who presided over the station’s canteen and fixed me two cups of black tea; and a phlegmatic dog who decided I needed constant supervision. Nothing seems to have changed here since the 1.15 km-long Barog Tunnel was completed in the early 1900s…