There's much to hate about an Indian summer; but it does come with its own compensations
Yes, everyone hates a good summer. Well, at least, in India we do. And anyone who has lived through a summer in this country will know exactly why.
This is that time of year when it's so hot that it is impossible to even cool down with a cold shower. It doesn't matter that your geyser has been turned off for months. The moment you turn the faucet on, boiling water, which has been steadily heating up in the overhead tank, rains down to scald your head and shoulders. And as you emerge, all pink and red like a boiled lobster, you begin to wonder why you even bothered; you are sweaty again in a matter of seconds.
This is the time of year when the sun is so hot that even the tar on the roads melts under its assault; so what chance do we mere mortals stand? This is when tempers fray, when road rage leads to people actually killing each other, sometimes over something as minor as a parking dispute.
Yes, there is a lot to hate about the Indian summer. But funnily enough, that’s not why I detest this season with a deep and abiding passion. The reasons behind my loathing are entirely different.
The thing that really gets me got under the collar (apart from the heat, of course) is having to listen to people endlessly moaning and groaning and whining and whinging about the heat. Because whenever the mercury soars, so do the number of social media posts about HOW HOT it is! Oh my God, it really is HOT!
Well, what did you bloody expect? You are in the middle of an Indian summer. The mercury will hit the 40-degree mark and even go a tad above occasionally. The scorching sun will beat down on your mercilessly. Going outdoors will seem like stepping into an oven. And when the pre-monsoon showers hit, the humidity will add to your woes. But that is how it always was. That's how it is. And that's how it will always be. Deal with it. Or, as the saying goes, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the bloody furnace.
The only people who get a free pass on the complaining front are those who actually do spend time outdoors, doing all the jobs that we would never deign to: the security guards, the traffic cops, the drivers, the scooterwallahs, those running street-side stalls and the like, who roast in the sun all through the day. If they want to moan, they have earned the right to do so, one sunstroke attack at a time. But if you go from an air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned office in your air-conditioned car, then sorry, you really have no business complaining.
The only people who are more annoying than those who gripe ceaselessly about the heat are the once who have travelled to cooler climes to escape the hell that is the Indian summer. No, it's not enough for these people to just enjoy the balmy weather wherever the hell it is that they have decamped to. And they certainly don't have the decency to draw a discreet veil over their lovely little vacations in the Swiss Alps, the French Riviera, or whichever is the trendy summer destination of the moment.
Oh no, that would not do at all. They have to rub their privileged lives in our faces by posting pictures of all the amazing things they are getting up to while we gently roast in India. There they are, skiing down the mountains, drinking champagne at the seaside, or even dining al fresco in scenic locations. It's enough to make your head explode (and not because of the heat, either).
But that's not to say that the season is entirely without its compensations. This is the time of year when the laburnum erupts in all its bright yellow glory, brightening up the streets and bringing a smile to our faces. This is when the king of fruits fills up our shops, so that we can gorge on it to our hearts content. No silly! I'm not talking about the mango. It's the lychee that scores. (Do try and keep up!) Not that I have anything against the mango, it’s nice enough diced up neatly for dessert. Though, I must confess, the only way I can truly enjoy one is to create a tidy little puncture hole on top and suck the juice out slowly but surely. And getting my teeth stuck onto the pulpy core is an added bonus.
This is the time when you can show off your pretty pedicure in strappy sandals, freeing your feet from their months-long bondage in winter boots. This is when you can bring out your cotton saris from hibernation and use their soft waves to shelter your from the blazing sun. This is when you can go back to swimming in the pool, letting the cool water soothe your heat-wrecked body.
Yes, an Indian summer can be hard on those who have to live through it, but it has its compensations. So how about, just for a change, we count our blessings rather than our tabulate our troubles?