Whoever sang “Those were the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summers” was not an Indian and definitely not a Delhite (actually it was Nat King Cole). The season makes you lazy and robs you of a social life. The sun is out, bright and shining 6.30 in the morning, the afternoon heat is scorching and the evenings are no better. You sweat, you curse. The humidity makes it worse, it saps you of energy, makes your tresses look like Jimmy Hendrix on a bad hair day and your face like an oil smeared pan. (Imagine Mamata Banerjee on an election campaign).
Granted, you get to wear pleasing summery dresses. It’s a nice excuse to shop, check out the new season collection. Your limbs are out for airing. As long as you are in air conditioned environs, it’s manageable. Try an open air rendezvous. It’s a lost battle. Within minutes you manage sweaty patches on your pristine white outfit and your face starts looking like an overheated tomato. You look hot, but of a different kind.
The fruits make summers vaguely tolerable. You gorge on watermelons, litchis, mangoes (the list is quite long). You guzzle tall glasses of chilled drinks and make Baskin Robbins/Walls a richer company. You try to drown your sorrows in the swimming pool and realize a little belatedly that 40 other people have hit upon the same idea. You bang into over excited kids and wonder how many of them have pee-ed in the pool. You beat a hasty retreat.
Summer is also the time for the school/college break. You are choked to the gills with announcements for summer camps and hobby classes. Hurry now, limited seats available. From taekwondo to jazz you have it all. Parents send their kids in the vain hope of turning them into overnight dancing stars with karate skills. The long summer break also makes it possible to plan a summer getaway. You manage a respite even if briefly. The monsoons make a guest appearance. In Delhi you read about it in magazines: skin care for monsoons, 10 smashing looks for the rains (white sari not included), mouth watering snacks for the season. The odd day it does rain we contentedly watch the downpour come down in sheets from our apartment window.
It’s April and the countdown has begun. The Met department made it worse by announcing normal rains this season (they always manage to be accurately inaccurate). We have already started planning our long awaited vacation. Sour green mangoes have made their dazzling debut. I am sipping my chilled glass of nimbu pani and counting the days. It may just be seven months, but feels like eternity, much like 550 days of summer.