Thursday, June 14, 2007

White Heat

Imagine being portaged from 77 F to 113 F in less than an hour. That is what happened to me a few days back and I am still trying to adjust to the rude reality. Being in Kashmir has its own advantages – you know that you are in the most enviable clime-zone in India and no matter what you’ll never have to use the AC in your car. The barn swallow gliding in a distance makes you feel -- for once -- flighty. As the plane slowly began its ascent, the chocolate and snow colored mountains appeared whispering to the blobby clouds. Look at those folks; they are going to be slowly sautéed in the plains.

I’ll write about my Kashmir sojourn in the days ahead. Good scoop can always wait. I first wish to share the bad poop. The winds -- they say -- bring in omens. As soon as the leggy airhostess threw open the airplane door, winds from hell blew in. I instantly knew we were in for an especially uncomfortable time. After all 25 C and 45 C is not exactly fair figuring. At my Delhi apartment, a notorious power cut welcomed us. No cold water in the refrigerator. Inverter with low battery. A quick glance at the morn newspaper confirmed my worst fears. 15 hour-cuts in the city. Anachronistic. I let out a hapless slack gasp.

I’ve jotted in some detail – in my earlier posts – the super aversion I harbor for the cruel heat. Indian summers suck. It is sweat, swear, and slow sauté. Though you may try, you just can’t beat it. Instead it beats the hell out of you. I just can’t fathom how people manage. It is one of the many things I don’t bother thinking about. You see blokes working under a scorching sun on half dug-up roads or selling pirated books at traffic signals in abominable afternoons or clung upon electric poles trying to fix or unfix a maze of wires. Still some sleep blissfully in one of the city parks' under -- little shade -- of an outgrown shrub. In 113 F. India confounds me, endlessly.

I am slowly attuning to the clime-change. The AC is working proper. The battery back up is firmly in place. The fridge has stockpiles of ice and juice and cold water in it. I don’t step out in the heat. My office hours are nicely aligned – and inversely proportional to – the temperature outside. The air-conditioning in the car is just fine. I conspired with my colleague Mehak to ask our management to increase the chill factor in the split AC in our office cabin. I don’t eat much outside. Not in this white heat!

Glad tidings to follow.