Heat of the moment

Rachna Singh
Saturday, 4 May 2019

It’s election time, they tell me. But, I don’t think I’ll be able to follow any analysis unless it comes in a tub of ice cream. My days are divided between sticking my head into the refrigerator, or into a fan and looking at clouds up above. 

It’s so hot these days that I can’t focus on anything other than ice cream. Akshay Kumar’s pink pants in his TV appearance make me crave strawberry ice cream. In other news, I spot a saffron-clad lady claiming potent curse-powers. I want orange lollies now. Sunny Deol is seen filing nomination papers: his yellow turban making me want to jump into a tub of mango ice cream.

It’s election time, they tell me. But, I don’t think I’ll be able to follow any analysis unless it comes in a tub of ice cream. My days are divided between sticking my head into the refrigerator, or into a fan and looking at clouds up above. 

These clouds have a sense of humour, I have discovered. A bunch of them wander in everyday, just as the sun is setting, like it’s time for their evening walk or something. They bob around, nudge each other, as if saying, ‘See, crazy lady staring from window again’ and then go away. They just go away! Can’t trust politicians, people tell me. What about clouds? Haah?

I meet my friends every evening and we discuss the weather passionately. We have stopped talking about 50 per cent off sales and our usual maid-related woes. It’s just the weather. The activists among us give statistics on the felling of trees, the animal lovers tell us to leave water out for the birds and our resident Kim Kardashian advises on water-proof mascara for the sweaty day. I share my suspicions around the clouds plotting against us.

People have different ways of expressing their anguish over the heat: dismay, frustration, beating of chests. And, on the other hand we have the matter-of-fact ones like my son who travelled to Delhi recently. I asked him, my voice contorted with empathetic anguish, expressing a million emotions about how horrible the heat wave can be, ‘How hot was Delhi?’ He replied with a face that betrayed no emotion or comprehension of my need for him to express anguish equivalent to mine, ‘41 degrees’.

As a kid, I never understood what Enid Blyton meant by ‘a beautiful sunny, summer day, perfect for a picnic’. We could never have picnics in our summers unless we wanted to serve ourselves as barbecue meat! Mine were spent at home, with occasional trips to garden to watch over our mango trees. The mission was to walk towards the clutch of five trees and yell out ‘chor chor’ if a thief was spotted. That was the cue for rest of the family to rush towards the trees to assist in chasing/beating up the thief, depending on who could run faster. This had to be done till the tiny raw mangoes were big enough to be plucked for the ripening process. The sun would beat down mercilessly during the afternoons, the caked mud on the paths fuming, waves of radiating heat licking our arms and feet. This chowkidaar job was as tough as, well, any other chowkidaar jobs that exist or claim to exist.

With sweat clouding our eyes and daggers of sun poking into our necks, we laboured to do our best. So, don’t blame me if sometimes, I mistook the gardener for a thief and we beat him up. Chowkidaari comes with its blind spots, I say.

Best-selling author Rachna Singh (www.rachansingh.in) is a sit-down comedienne

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