As a kid, summer holidays were the highlight of my school year – a super long break where I could play as much as possible. I remember being outside at noon with the sun beating on my head, completely disregarding my mom’s warnings about it being too hot. If I had a friend who also made it out, we would sit next to a wall and talk or play. I would take my bike and roam around our building complex if I were alone. And every other year we would go to the village. There is a granite slab right outside our house, which got the shade from the wall. Around noonish, everybody would retreat into the comfort of their houses – not me. I would sit on the slab, feel the heat and just watch. The dogs would find a shady place and sleep – people would just take a nap. You don’t see any shadows when the sun is right on top. I would sleep fitfully as a kid at night, happy with a few snatches of air from a rotating table fan serving a dozen people. As a kid, the concept of ‘Too hot’ did not exist.
My dad’s summers as a child were even more idyllic – his generation’s parents had a lot more kids, so there were a lot of them in the family. And they would go to the village pond – take a swim or feed the fishes or eat sugary icecreams on a stick.
After decades, I was in India during the peak summer season. The minute I stepped out of the airport, the humidity sank in, and I could feel my body heaving a sigh of relief because that is what it knows as natural. We were in India for my cousin’s wedding, and in Chennai, where we live, we have A/C – but in the village where the wedding was, there is no A/C. There are fans etc., but no fancy wedding halls as such. And I found myself complaining about the heat until one day I realised that it did not matter – complaining about the heat does not make it go away, and it also brought back memories of my childhood – inspiration for the blog.
And funnily enough, once I stopped complaining, the heat became bearable. Either that or my body got adjusted to the heat finally! There is a certain joy in feeling the humidity and the heat. It’s like your body is a sponge which is just wet – neither dripping nor dry. When you step out of the shower, you know you will get drenched in sweat. Surprisingly, people don’t stop drinking hot tea or coffee. The summer fruits produce heat in your body like Mangoes – of course, and we have coconut etc. I continued to eat the spicy food or drink hot tea, knowing it would sweat more. Life goes on as usual in Indian summers, albeit at a different rhythm. When there was no A/C or fan, people used to store water in earthen pots, rest under trees (when there were trees), and swim in the pond. The old houses were built in such a way to allow for maximum ventilation. Maybe the heat wasn’t this bad as global warming wasn’t as prominent.
The purpose of this blog was to find a medium to express the nostalgia I feel about summer and another realisation that when you don’t resist what it is, it goes away. Acceptance and surrender are two essential tools to meet any situation.
Are you resisting what is?