Sunday, January 28, 2018

"Here in Delhi, it’s a cliché of our coughing metropolis that smog is the great social leveller"

But it’s simply not true. This is the dirtiest secret about dirty air: the wealthy buy their way around it. Slowly, I’ve acclimated to the idea that a small handful of residents can breathe safely, and the rest cannot.

This segregated reality is woven through our family life. State-of-the-art Swedish purifiers churn around the clock in our rooms; a portable purifier cleans the air in our car. Air-filtering masks protect our lungs as we pass from building to car to building. A Tae Kwon Do instructor visits our living room so our children and their friends get some exercise without braving the outdoors.


“The oxygen is amazing,” our friend continues. “You don’t realize what a difference it makes.”

She leans closer, as if what she’s about to say is a secret.

“We’re all dreaming again!”


“It’s true,” her eyes are round. “We hadn’t noticed, but we’d all stopped dreaming. With the oxygen, we’re dreaming again.”