Thursday, March 31, 2005
The Best of British Weather
You know those frustratingly sultry still nights that you get in Madras? When you just lie there, unable to sleep on a stuffy warm bed. The pillow under your neck going wet with sweat. Your whole body feels sticky. It is 2:00 AM and your dinner by this time has long been digested, and you might even feel a little hungry. Trying not to pull your hair out in irritation, you walk up to the window, draw the curtains, unlatch the window, push it open. The doors swing out with a reluctant swagger and you can hear them bang against the outer wall; crystal clear, undistorted clap and rattle, of the heat-trapping glass on a wooden frame.
You expect at-least a semblance of a breeze, but you are confronted with an unmoving branch of a tree. Far below and far away, the Sodium Vapour lamps on the street blaze away an orange light, but it cannot show you that dog on the street, who you can hear is venting his own frustration by crying out loud. You wish you could too. The night is still. Nothing stirs, the warm hair just sits there lazily: all around you and you wish you could grab it and tear it away like you would a heavy musty curtain.
You return disappointed to a terribly stuffy bed, your wet back hitting warm cotton. Soon enough, a low buzz echoes around your head, an unseen insect is determined to serenade you. Then, some of her friends decide to feast... on you. You regret having opened that bloody window!
That's Madras summer, and I don't miss it terribly. Definitely do not miss it because Britain has its own version. Do not believe it when someone talks about "living amidst the clouds" as something fantastic and pleasurable. The Atlantic in only too willing to send in some low clouds to lower themselves further and settle down like an overfed lazy fat cow over the South West. The damp cold air just hangs there, slowly pissing on your washing, soaking everything slowly and refusing to go away. You just wish you could tear through the weather and let in some sunshine, but no. It just will not go. The frustration is just like when you get popcorn kernel stuck somewhere in your back teeth and your tongue is not dextrous enough and your fingers are too grimy.
But fuck everything! Cos I just got my parcel from Amazon.com and it has some of my favourite movies on DVD. It is indeed very gratifying when you can finally call your own something you wanted for a long time. And that too, when you can pay for it with money you have actually earned yourself. My days of clearing tables in a restaurant may not end soon, but I actually get to blow some moolah on the best of Stanley Kubrick! In fact I went ahead and bought all his movies, except his early documentaries, Killer’s Kiss (1955) and Spartacus (1960)
So look forward to al-least a couple of related posts in the future. One about working in the only South Indian restaurant in the City, and the other about Kubrick's brilliant The Killing (1956).
Comments to The Best of British Weather
...sultry still nights without electricity, I suppose...
posted by swami10:00 am, April 01, 2005
"Far below and far away, the Sodium Vapour lamps on the street blaze away an orange light, but it cannot show you that dog on the street, who you can hear is venting his own frustration by crying out loud. You wish you could too. The night is still. Nothing stirs, the warm air just sits there lazily: all around you and you wish you could grab it and tear it away like you would a heavy musty curtain."
posted by Suman1:51 pm, April 01, 2005
> The damp cold air just hangs there, slowly pissing on your washing, soaking everything slowly and refusing to go away.
> The frustration is just like when you get popcorn kernel stuck somewhere in your back teeth and your tongue is not dextrous enough and your fingers are too grimy.
posted by Chakra Sampath2:14 pm, April 01, 2005
The one redeeming thing about Madras summer (especially when the electricity is off) is that it will get you up and awake for an early meeting on a Monday morning.
posted by Ravages9:07 pm, April 01, 2005
Nice Literary Flair..I used to live in Ashok Nagar..and not a week would pass without the inevitable late nite powercut and the subsequent frustrated call to the MES..which almost always invariably went unanswered..ah,the gud old days..:)
posted by DL9:52 pm, April 01, 2005
Swami: Yeah! I forgot to write about "the ceiling fan that woefully goes through the motions without bothering to find purpose" :)
Suman: Thanks! Glad you liked it!
Chakra: You know exactly how bad the South West can get! ;)
CC: You just have to come to terms with facts. Sometimes Madras sucks! But we love it nevertheless done we?
Deepak: Yeah! I was talking exactly about 10th Avenue in Ashok Nagar. All those trees and none of them ever moves an inch! The whole thing can look like some creepy 3D still photograph. Thanks for the compliments; though I would like to add that I am right now trying to establish a 'cinematic flair'! ;)
posted by Anand10:14 pm, April 01, 2005
CC and Annand,
Am just freaking overjoyed that I finally picked up the balls to quit my job and have decided to head back to the city I love.
D.C. is great - but namma madras just came calling.
posted by Nilu1:14 am, April 02, 2005
Wonderful piece of writing.
Really reflects a humid Madras Summer.
On days like these, it pays to go and sleep on a terrace with a cool breeze blowing, or better yet, enjoy the warm ocean splash by living near the beach(es)
posted by satosphere10:25 pm, April 02, 2005
posted by3:21 pm, April 03, 2005
Nice piece of prose ! Reminds me of Mulk Raj Anand for the visual narratives and I can spot an ear tuning into everyday sounds...
"you can hear them bang against the outer wall; crystal clear, undistorted clap and rattle"
posted by3:04 am, April 07, 2005
References to The Best of British Weather
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