By Tinky Ningombam
So, it’s official. I hate summers. I hate it. I hate the heat, the dust, the dryness, the dehydration. I hate it all.
Every year, I crib and throw my hands up in frustration with the summers in Delhi. I hate being confined to my rooms during the day waiting for the sun to go down. I hate the fact that I do not want to go out. I hate the hot wind that blows on the face every time you step out of a room. I have become this ranting, angry version of myself because of this heat and every year I say to myself that I will get used to it. But no, you never get used to the flames of hell. Why can’t we have winters longer? The chilly breeze, the whiff of firewood in the evenings, the warm meal, the nice squishy quilts. But no, instead face extreme summer and a longer one at that. Just heat waves, heat waves and more heat waves, and it will rain yes, for like a minute, and then find yourself in a wonderful clime of 100% humidity. I cannot understand why there is such a long summer in this city. I love the variety of things you can do here but this heat drains you of all the enthusiasm. The insane amount of different places you can go and hang out, when can one actually enjoy them? A happy summer day is like a momentary flash of luck which goes just too soon.
On the other hand, I am beginning to believe that heat makes people hate each other. It is not untrue when I say that I get more infuriated with people who cross me in the unfortunate long spell of summer days. I get angrier when someone bumps me on the road or enter a queue ahead of me. In the winters, I will just be like “Cool, it’s okay, why spoil my day?” but not when it’s hot. Because in the summers you turn into the Grim Reaper sans the scythe sometimes, but I won’t need it, the crazy is all that needs to be there.
I dare someone to self-volunteer to open the door to face the sun happily on a bright summer noon. You have to be strong to open the doors of hell; and stronger to be happy about it. I rather starve than go out and get food for myself in this heat. And would you be offered help? No… of course not. With a lot of begging maybe but it is a time when humane goodness disappears; chivalry dies… it becomes a question of survival. And if you lose a bet with your friends and get sent out to the open to run errands, you secretly curse every one of them and promise to yourself some sweet revenge.
I kid you not, when its summers here, even puppies stop looking cute. Every once in a while, you look at the person walking next to you. They aren`t pretty either. They are squinting, sweaty, angry, red and hostile. The person who smiles when walking in this heat is someone who is either a super-human or is probably brainwashed by aliens. I want to know where the ads for summer sunscreens and all those pretty summer dresses are shot because I have never seen a pretty girl walking down happy with wind-blown hair (unless she loves the hot arid gust of dust) sashaying away with perfect make-up checking out road side fresh fruit stalls and carrying the perfect bunch of flowers. I need to know. Because I need to make it my summer home. All I see here is mall to mall hopping in the search of an AC and long lines of AC cars with some road abuse for entertainment.
The only joy in this unending circle of confinement within closed doors , I must say, is the sparkling clear glass of chilled lemonade with ice cubes. I imagine that when one enters the pearly gates of heaven the first thing they will do is hand you a glass of lemonade on ice. It would be an honor to know the person who first thought of using ice to make a cool drink. Not only must he be rewarded with all the riches of the world but he should statues of himself erected in every corner of the world.
It all come down to this finally I think, that the hatred of the summer heat is proportional to how old you become. And no-one here is getting any younger. People who come from other parts of North India like Gujarat or Bihar say they have faced worse summers, but it’s not a competition really. I mean summers in Delhi also mean more AC usage, more power-cuts, less water supply … so it is just not a happy time for anyone.
Too many miserable thoughts? Okay, let’s look at the bright side. For people who like to stay inside your apartments, read all day long, or are couch potatoes, it won’t matter much. You will probably become fairer (for people who are obsessed with fairness creams, a ready remedy), detoxified because of the enormous amount of sweating and will start liking nutritious fluids (unless soda is your life obsession). And it’s just going to be hard the first few days of hitting above 45 degrees and after that your body will adapt. You will somehow become immune.
I went too far with that last lie there … but to cut things short, you got me, I hate summers. I eagerly wait for the next winter to come with a glass of iced lemonade.
(And the author quotes and agrees with the wise man, Sam Keen when he says: “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”`)