If you have a memory that is healthier than mine, you’d remember me writing about how much I love summer. When, for the twenty seventh day in a row, one wakes up feeling the heat penetrate into the body through every skin pore, never to leave the body again, love goes on a long vacation. Probably to the hills. The Westerleys that are soaking the West coast, are squatting on the head of our Easterlies, and refusing to let our parched land be cooled by the bay . Without the timely sea-breeze to cool the anger, I am running a jumbo sized deodorant bottle every week. There are fire ants riding not only my skin, but my head too, as I snap at anyone within half-mile radius of me, so that people stay a good three quarters mile away from me. Which is not a bad thing, I could do without their radiated body heat.
My laptop (not the cool one, but the fossil that I have been reluctant to give up) is no help either. Not only does it lose its juice within 15 minutes of discharge, but cooks my thighs medium rare by the time I open a single browser. And the idea of entering the kitchen to pack the kid’s nourishment raises uncharitable thoughts about the whole institution of schooling. And about the bad engineering design of the human body that needs input every now and then. Why isn’t there summer hibernation for tropicans ? Was the quality control department napping during creation?
If you (and by this, I mean you, Rama) leave a comment here about how wonderful Coimbatore is, I swear, I will use bad words.
Dad: This kid is always on her pad. “Pad”ஆவதியா ஆயிண்டிருக்கா.
A few hours later:
Kid: Appa, amma refuses to give me tea. ’டீ’யவள் ஆயிண்டிருக்கா.
Can you see the genetic connection there? More importantly, can you imagine the plight of the mom who is subjected to such puns on a daily basis ?
After spending 48 hours with a very talkative friend over a sleepover, the kid says this:
Amma, I swear I will talk less with you hereafter…I know now how you feel.
Kids taunting each other as
We return after the yearly pilgrimage to the dude’s hometown, a much needed break from the activities of daily life that were threatening to become more humdrum than I could tolerate. Nine days of vegetating are absolutely essential to kick-start the mind for the rest of the year.
The town ceased being novel to me a few years ago, although funnily, the in-laws (and dude, I suspect) still consider me a newbie in the area. Despite getting lost now and then in the alleys of the island town (but I am the kind to get lost in my backyard), I am comfortable (for vacation, I.e., it would take more time for me to feel it as “home”) to know the neighbours and folks enough to say hello and social nothings. But what is most important during the trip is the opportunity it affords to me to withdraw into myself and stay quiet with no explanations or excuses needed. That silence is like a broomstick that sweeps all the clutter of the year away and makes way for the noise of the coming year. And the daily walks with dude, culminating in an hour at the temple, blending with the pomp and crowd is a satisfying spiritual experience that would power me for a few more months. The hangout with a new (to me) friend rounds the vacation nicely.
The timing was perfect as well. We escaped the hottest days of my hometown that were making news throughout the world and have returned to cloudy, drizzling, and cooler (even if unbelievably humid) days. Never mind that that the change in weather, compounded by the 23 degree A/C coach (with contaminated HVAC I suspect) has messed with the hypothalamus that is still groaning at the abrupt temperature changes to which it has been subjected.
The inbox is flooded with reminders of overdue work. The fridge needs stocking. School supplies need to be bought. The mind is still not out of the quietness of vacation and I want to enjoy it a day longer before I voluntarily push out the silence to enter the maze of daily life that will keep me hither-thithering for the rest of the year.
If the feeling you get when after an hour walk on a humid, hot evening around the veedhis* of the Srirangam temple, you swallow a mouthful of cool paneer soda** cannot be called spiritual bliss, I wonder what else can.
* the eight roads surrounding the gigantic temple
**carbonated sweetened soda water…a rose by any other name…in this case quite apt.
mom: I really need to pee.
kid: amma…please can’t you say that decently?
mom: Ok. I really need to tinkle.
kid: No..that’s worse.
mom: Ok. My kidney just filtered my blood and wants to get rid of the waste…