The intense heat that we are being subjected to this year, takes me back to a childhood when we survived without air conditioning. Summer vacations were spent with our grandparents. I could spend hours in my grandfather’s library, with just a wall-mounted fan above the desk. Ice lollies were a treat we looked forward to, and bolted out in a jiffy on hearing the hawker’s brass bell.
We still tease a cousin of ours for being pawned in exchange for twenty rupees. We had our fill of ‘chaat’ (spicy, savory dishes made with boiled potatoes, peas and puffed pastry) at the local vendor’s stall, but ran short of money to pay. We returned home to take the cash, while a meek cousin was asked to stay there, as our ‘mortgaged’ item. Luckily for him, we did return with money to bail him out.
A favorite hideout used to be a tent created with two standing rope-beds brought close together, and covered with a thick sheet on top. The same beds were used in the night to sleep in the open courtyard or terrace, covered with mosquito nets. We would even cover ourselves with wet sheets to cool us, and we dozed off as the sheet took its time to dry.
Memories galore, as we now spend isolated summers in air-cooled homes and offices, and order everything online ….