Dengue fever here is pronounced "deng-goo". Against my better nature, I have started saying it that way too, just to be understood.
And I've been saying it a lot this past week, as I have fallen victim to the seasonal scourge that plagues mosquito-ridden Delhi in monsoon time. Deng-goo.
It has not been pretty. There is nothing glamorous about deng-goo. It's all about sleeping endlessly, waking up for a round of projectile vomiting, sleeping some more, swallowing a handful of pills and trying to keep them down, staggering from the bed to the sofa only to pass out from the effort. Repeat for seven days, punctuated by platelet level tests in which some ham-fisted orderly jams what feels like a blunt needle into your arm.
The best bit is that as there is an epidemic - 1,500-odd official cases, far more in all likelihood - there is nary a hospital bed left in town. When I went to Supermax hospital in Saket on Sunday evening, the day I was struck down, they stuck me on the only spare bed in emergency, in the Resuscitation Room, and discussed loudly that they were only admitting the most serious patients. I caught a glimpse into the adjacent ward which looked like something out of WW2 with beds crammed in every which way.
There is also concern that platelet stocks might run low, so instead of admitting patients when their levels fall under 100, they've downgraded to 50.
We're just a few weeks out from the Commonwealth Games. The Games village is built on the banks of the Yamuna River - a major breeding ground for mosquitos. They've now called the army in to drain stagnant pools of water and fog the site before all the foreign athletes descend. For what it's worth, I don't think anyone should bother coming here. It's still raining, mosquitoes are out in force, the city remains a building site.