The cold had been too severe, it had been below freezing; the hedge had been burned brown, the brown leaves had fallen off; the lawn was grey-brown, the colour of the earth; except for a few yellow pansies and roses, the garden was bare. It had been too cold and the poor, as usual, were suffering and dying; population was exploding and people were dying. You saw them shivering, with hardly a thing on, in dirty rags; an old woman was shaking from head to foot, hugging herself, the few teeth chattering; a young woman was washing herself and a torn cloth by the cold river [the Jumna] and an old man was coughing deeply and heavily and children were playing, laughing and shouting. It was an exceptionally cold winter; they said and many were dying. The red rose and the yellow pansy were intensely alive, burning with colour; you couldn't take your eyes off them and those two colours seemed to expand and fill the empty garden; even though the children were shouting, that shivering old woman was everywhere; the incredible yellow and red and the inevitable death. Colour was god and death was beyond the gods. It was everywhere and so was colour. You could not separate the two and if you did then there was no living. Neither could you separate love from death and if you did it was no longer beauty. Every colour is separated, made much of but there is only colour and when you see every different colour as only colour, then only is there splendour in colour. The red rose and the yellow pansy were not different colours but colour that filled the bare garden with glory. The sky was pale blue, blue of a cold, rainless winter but it was the blue of all colour. You saw it and you were of it; the noises of the city faded but colour, imperishable, endured.
Part 9 Delhi 20th January