It was a very warm day. Too early for summer. She dreaded what summer would be like. Already the cooler was running, the fan was on 5 and she felt hot and uncomfortable. The room smelled of dust. Dust everywhere. In the crevices of the keyboard, on top of everything. It felt like living in a desert.
She wanted to clean again. Almost three times a day she tidied and yet the dust got in everywhere – in her nostrils, in her windpipe, till she felt herself choking on it.
She kept dreaming about the rain. Of travelling on a wide road with greenery all around and the wind lashing the rain onto her face. Her hair bundled tightly under a scarf, and a smile on her face. You could never make a sad face when the wind was blowing on you. You simply had to smile.
Thinking about those memories, she smiled to herself. She remembered interminable afternoons when she was stuck in school. Too hot to even concentrate on what the teacher was saying. And then a sticky ride back home jostling for space amongst twenty other kids in a tiny van. Showering with cold water from the fridge just to get rid of the heat.
Afternoons so close to the equator are meant only for sleeping. Swatting away flies with a piece of plastic doubling up as a fan and lying on the cold mosaic floor. Drinking elaneer* and eating grandmom’s set curd by the cup. Ladies woke up early in the evening and showered again. They dusted themselves with talcum powder at 4 only to turn into squidgy soft white masses by tiffin** time. The heat got to everyone. It crept into the dark shadows of rooms, on the floor, in the air. She drank water by the bottle and when that wasn’t enough, ate ice.
She remembered sitting by the table fan and devouring books, one after another. The childhood association remained and even today on warm afternoons, she wanted to lie in bed with a book and a bottle of cold juice by her side.
She thought about all those summers of long ago and sighed. It was early March still.
Waiting for November.
* Coconut Water
** Early evening meal