I was in Chennai, my last 2 weekends to visit family..there I dont have the luxury of stepping into an A/C car and out into an A/C office and coming back into a no power-cut home or shopping in super markets....instead the "boiling in a sauna" type of summer in Chennai has to be battled mostly in autorickshaws, haggling with street side vendors amidst a crowd of shoving,heat-irritated people, two showers a day that dont make any difference to how much you sweat - and NO, I was NOT complaining...I loved it.
It reminded me of a summer hols when I was younger..Of waking up to the prickly morning heat, the bright sun making it impossible to sleep any longer, looking forward to days of nothing, of fooling around with a gang of friends, of broken teeth and the taste of blood, of raw mangoes "self procured" fresh off the trees, the salted sourness that would make me squint my eyes and salivate to that intense taste, cycle races with no helmets or no knee caps, of hot air that billowed my hair much like a hair dryer set on 3, water melons, dust and mud and grime and the nonchalance with which we wallowed in it like a bunch of hooligans playing and screaming and fighting...futile attempts to attend art classes..and Amma's complete exasperation when we dint turn up in time for meals..and so much more...I felt younger once again.
I am reading William Darlymple's "Nine LIves" - its a different type of a travelogue on India. His description on Trichy, my hometown and my childhood memories was also a trigger to my nostalgia and I need to post it here.
"The rich soils of the Kaveri delta spread out below: a flat plain , the essence of green, broken in mirrored patchwork of flooded paddy fields, each square glinting with a slightly different refraction in the light of the late afternoon sun. Through the middle ran the thin silver ribbon of the kaveri, winding its way slowly through an avenue of plans that line the banks of this rich delta, before looping itself around the island temple of Srirangam and the freat smooth rock of Thrichinopoly"
I will never know, why we are in such a hurry to grow up and realise the preciousness of those innocent days ONLY in retrospect...Human stupidity as always!