The fashion magazines are all pasted with the latest summer trends; models clad in bikini with prints that scream about the wild flowers of Africa. The cover photo has a promising picture of a cellulite repellent lady sipping Pinacolada on a beach that looks pristine, bohemian curls flirting with the summer wind, her skin kissed by a gentle tan. You stare at the magazine until a sweat develops on your scalp and lands noisily on it. So much for a dreamy summer in India.
That drop of sweat brings you back to reality. A reality that consists of your head that seems to have been licked by the holy Indian cow, the patches of makeup that managed to hold on to your face, the collar of your shirt as dirty as your thoughts and sweat glands that are working overtime like Santa’s little elves on the last day of Christmas. There is nothing I enjoy about summer, except mangoes. Yes Mangoes!
I have hated summer with a conviction as fervent and strong as a mother’s love. The only nostalgia attached to summer was fighting for a spot in front of the air cooler and later escaping the responsibility to quench the exhausted machine’s thirst with buckets of water; the prospect of carving out biceps lost in that process. Summer never brought to me crop tops and hot pants, my family was orthodox like that; my body was obese like that. What it did bring to me was frequent bouts of diarrhea, credit to the dirty ice lollies that Mahesh Thelawala sold and I gulped down like vitamin pills. It also brought out this other version of my mother, the one who was always ready with a bowl of milk with salt in it to rub on my face, every time I returned from an episode under the blazing sun. It removed the tan she said; never did I vouch! A regular sight during summer was my topless, hibernating grandfather stretched out on the diwan and my grandmother sprinkling cold water on him.
While the other kids took up a summer hobby and went to camps, I spent my holidays being a human fan. It was my eternal duty to stand on the kitchen counter and help bring down the temperature by fanning my mother using that day’s Hindustan times. When I was tired, dad took up the spot, lest we wanted to end up sleeping hungry. Bathing never made things better, thanks to the black overhead tank that only supplied boiling water. I have always wondered why people decide to get married during summer. A far off relative who I was particularly fond of, hates me because I once told her “Aapko malum hai ki aap kal apni shaadi mein kitni gandi dikhogi?”. She had chosen the month of May to get married. The bride’s sindoor running down the forehead as she smiles at her new man shaped tote bag who seems to have lost a couple of kilos inside his safari suit, wasn’t exactly a grand way to kick start a lifetime of togetherness. Her wedding video could easily be mistaken as a clip from the movie Shutter Island. In a climate that makes cuddling the last thing in the mind, no wonder they choose Switzerland to initiate honeymoon consummation.
Henry James once said “Summer afternoon- Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” This makes me want to cry while I attempt to wring myself dry.
P.S- Almost 2mths of not blogging. I am alive and there to stay!
Image Courtesy- myindiapictures.com