Monday, April 06, 2020

The silver lining in a cloudless summer sky

Look closely, squint a bit, summon your inner optimist, perhaps you just might spot the silver lining in a cloudless summer sky...
Summer is here. And it sucks worse than usual. Especially for us, Indians, who are placed uncomfortably close to the equator. I live in one of the hottest, driest places in the world. And believe me, when I say that after spending a single summer in Sivakasi, all the fire, brimstone, boiling vats of oil, rivers of lava, and the rest of the horrors of hell featuring extreme heat described in weighty religious tomes, fiery prophets and the poetry of Dante, will seem like a vacation in the snow clad Swiss Alps. I exaggerate not.

The heat is something else. You can cook eggs on any available service or even a fevered brow. Watermelon and tender coconut are sold at exorbitant rates and it is way too hot to bargain. All my plans to allow the excess fat to melt away in the heat, come to naught because I can’t walk past an ice cream shop without resisting the lure of a white chocolate and raspberry bar or a double scoop of the sinful palghova ice cream available at Puppy’s Bakery. Hence, though my mother refuses to buy it, the excessive heat of Sivadump is to blame for my weight issues (How is a girl supposed to survive the summer without ice cream and IPl damn it!). But there is worse…

Even those who are not as green – thumb challenged as I am, have trouble growing anything other than cacti, given the scarcity of water. ‘We need rain…’ we keep saying to each other unnecessarily, hoping Mother Nature or whoever is in charge of the weather will pay heed. Some brave the heat and crowds to visit temples and pray fervently for a few life-giving showers. I daresay, desperation drives a few to perform the rain dance which though it sounds improbable totally worked for Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother (If you haven’t watched the show, please do and then call me so we can crib together about the series finale which ruined the entire series.) But the brief showers are few and far away and invariably gives the impression of a medium – sized giant with a Urinary Tract Infection, pausing briefly above my town to take a reluctant piss only to change his mind and stop mid-stream.

This summer, I have been daydreaming uselessly about somehow meeting Tansen, (one of the nine gems in Akbar’s court who sang so beautifully and with so much command over the ragas, legend has it, he could actually light the oil lamps when he sang the Deepak raga) and begging him to teach me the Megh Malhar raga, so that I can summon clouds and rain at will. Wouldn’t that be swell? And why stop with rain… Perhaps I could learn to sing the blues away and heal the worst of injuries be they of the mind and spirit. It would be lovely to conjure up comfort with the power of your voice or soothe the hatred, pain and anger, simmering deep within the soul. Of course, I confess, it would also be cool if I could turn a few things to ash as well using that Deepak raga, like unwelcome intruders who have brought the entire world to its knees and then busted the kneecaps.

For all the non - existent people out there wondering about the extent to which I have succeeded in achieving my impossible daydream, allow me to inform you that Tansen saab hasn’t been very obliging so far, which hasn’t stopped me from belting out a few tunes with my painfully inadequate voice over the protests of husband dearest every once in a while. So there is hope. Or not.

Meanwhile, it is as hot as it always has been in these parts with every promise of becoming hotter still. With no sign of rain. But the silver lining in the cloudless summer sky is that it seems impossible that anything could thrive in this scorching weather. Not even a stubborn virus, or Coronasura as some refer to him (It is a him, of that I am certain!) So, perhaps there is hope after all.

1 comment:

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