Last night there was a fantastic thunderstorm with all the special effects – thunder, lightening, wind banging against the windows, and the climax – a power cut. Of course this happened in the middle of dinner, which became a dinner by candlelight. This was the first time it rained since I’ve been here. Everyone had been eagerly awaiting the summer showers to bring down temperatures a few degrees in the evening and water the parched mango trees.
Somehow we went straight from winter into summer, though ‘winter’ in South India is a misnomer for me: 25 degrees during the day and 15 at night cannot be ‘winter’, can it? I would smile when people asked me if I was “feeling the cold”, and all the woollen hats and scarves that came out at night would amuse me. So would the roadside vendors selling jackets, heavy sweaters and blankets. I thought the huge tree hovering over the terrace was dead. Its branches were completely empty, giving it a sad, forlorn look. But my landlady assured me that it would be in full bloom in two weeks time and that the terrace would be completely protected from the glaring sun by its shady canopy. “It’s winter, nah?” she reminded me. Sure enough only a few days later, buds appeared and leaves started to sprout and open, turning the terrace into a shady oasis.
For me summer started on the day I turned on the ceiling fan. Until then I was living a sweat-less existence in Bangalore with its warm and dry days and cool breezy nights. But so far the summer has been hotter and on some days more humid than usual. Everyone has been complaining about how hot it’s been and that “Bangalore has never been this hot.” But everything is relative of course. After spending last month in very hot and very humid Madras, summer here has been a lot more pleasant so far. At 1000 metres above sea level, the weather in Bangalore is usually cooler and much drier than coastal areas.
Schools are now closed for the summer holidays and the new school year will start again in June. Watermelon sellers are making a brisk business and everyone’s patiently watching the mango trees. Now it’s panic when the power goes off and the blades of the ceiling fan slow down and eventually stop rotating.