March 20, 2013

Wake me up when the summer ends


Have you heard of this movement called Nude Cooking? No? It’s ok, don’t beat yourself up over it. I just invented it.

So in my head, Nude Cooking is this movement where women across the world take to cooking in the nude during a few months every year (March to June, to be precise), not as a form of protest or anything, but for the simple reason that it’s too freaking hot to wear clothes in the kitchen. Frustration due to any collateral damage like oil-splattering etc. will be duly taken out on the husbands.

Yes, you guessed it right. The heat in Chennai has finally gone to my head. My love for cooking is slowly going up in fumes, thanks to the heat and humidity. I don’t even have to switch the gas on sometimes. Even if I’m doing baking, I’m sweating buckets. So imagine the condition while making rotis.

I HATE SUMMER! Except for the mangoes. And you know what’s the worst part? It’s still only March. L It’s only going to get worse. I try not to step out of the house much during the day, venturing out only to go to the gym and dance class, and the occasional trips to the supermarket. And I carry my trusty John’s kuda with me everywhere. I still haven’t recovered completely from my Goa tan yet. My skin is not ready for a Chennai tan.

Summer used to be fun at one time, during school days. Because of summer vacations. Damn, I miss school, just for that. For me, summer vacation used to be at my late Acchamma’s (Acha’s mom) house in Thalasherry. Two months of lazing around, devouring mangoes by the dozen (from the lone mango tree in her garden, planted by my dad years ago. Till date, the best mangoes I’ve ever had), eating kallumakai (mussels. Damn, just thinking about it is making my mouth water), among other things. But Acchamma’s signature piece was her homemade grape wine. Sigh... prepared and bottled months in advance, it would be ready for serving by the time we arrived. She would take it out with a flourish that only one who has spent hours toiling in front of an old-fashioned wood-fire can feel. Acchamma lived a simple life all by herself in that old house. She was a fiercely independent woman. She had this tiny little box TV that had only the Doordarshan channels, and she was very protective about her TV. So she used to ration it out to me and Chech. Which was good in a way, because we learnt to spend summers without a television. That’s when we used to read the most. Ah, the endless summers spent in the company of books. Acha would fashion cricket bats and balls out of madal (what’s it called in English? The stem part of the coconut tree) and oala (leaf of the coconut tree). And then in the evenings, we would go to Acha’s school, which was just across the road. His old school, with the HUGE playground and the gulmohar trees.

Acchamma passed away in 2005 March. And along with her, she took our summer vacations. Sadly, I don’t even remember the last summer vacation I spent with her. Once Chechi finished school, it became difficult to match our holiday schedules. And then, as happens with all of us, we grew out of it. We preferred to spend our vacations in the city, with our friends, ‘hanging out’. Trading succulent mangoes for dry popcorn at the movie theatre; grandma-made grape wine for fanta orange at the shopping centre; kallumakai for pizzas and burgers; the rickety old wooden bench in Acchamma’s front verandah for plastic chairs at the shopping complex; bedtime stories for late night television. I wonder if my kids, and kids of the coming generation will have as fond memories of summer vacations as we had... I seriously doubt it. They will have great memories, sure. But not of the same kind. Not of the mangoes-from-the-lone-tree-in-the-garden-homemade-grape-wine-roasted-cashewnuts-fighting-to-watch-TV-stealing-milk-powder-from-her-cupboard-inventing-games-because-there-was-no-TV-plucking-flowers-for-the-puja-room kind...

***

How is the summer in the rest of the country? Please tell me it’s bad. Please let me get some sadistic pleasure out of it. Please please pretty please.
  


34 comments:

  1. A big no to your postscript :P ... In fact I am going to make you feel worse. Apologies in advance.

    Though I am at the opposite spectrum with unusual snowstorms late winter, I am actually enjoying it. You can always dress up for the cold and there is only as much you can shed off as the mercury rises.

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  2. Somewhere on the facebook, I read a joke/ or rather a fact that out generations would be the worst grandparents ever. I wouldn't cling to the worst part, but I have to agree with it somehow.

    I have been in Bangalore for just over six months and haven't once sweated under the sun. But these days, it seems inevitable. Just a few hours after the sun comes up, it gets too hot. And if one is walking to office in a formal attire which dons a black shoe, well, his legs would be on fire. #NoKidding.

    Well, I plan to go to my grandma's house this summer, if only I could get some time away from office. :/

    Anyways, Take Care, the summers are getting insane these days. And keep writing. :)

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    Replies
    1. I was in Bangalore last weekend. While it gets cool once the sun sets, the mornings there are pretty hot.
      Mwahahahaha! :D

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  3. it sucks where I work... its an area in Kerala famous for heat stroke and as you said, its only March. Yet we've hit 40 degrees already and its crazy humid. Just gonna get worse im afraid.

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  4. Your post got me all nostalgic. It reminded me of my own Achamma who lived all alone at our ancestral home. She passed away in 2006. I miss her and the summer vacations we used to spend there - and there used to be yummy, juicy mangoes too. :)Hmm..I seriously doubt if the lil kids today will enjoy their vacations as much as we did. There I go, like a grandma!

    And nude cooking. Not a bad idea at all. It's pretty hot here in Kochi too. Is it possible to install an AC in the kitchen? No, right? Then nude you go! ;) Nice to see a blog post from you after a long time :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm seriously considering installing a fan in the kitchen. It's gonna get really difficult otherwise. :(

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  5. No sadistic pleasure for u from my side, coz I can still sit for a while without fan out here. But yeh, the sun is coming slowly. and how was ur Goa trip? and yes the tan sucks...apply some milk with a pink of salt in it. worked for my thailand tan.
    Btw my summer vacations whr with my ammumma coz my acchamma stays with us. Beautiful time in the small village of Pandalam :D
    P.S- Poppy kuda is the best :P

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    Replies
    1. My Goa trip was in December. The honeymoon. :)

      Mazha mazha, kuda kuda. Mazha vannal, Popy kuda! :D

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  6. Yes, Bangalore summer is also becoming intolerable added by the traffic frustrations. Though Chennai would be worse.

    Ah... those summer vacations, lazing in the lengthy halls of our monumental home with grandma's awesome snacks and grandpa's promises to read out stories every night.. Mangoes.. Slurrrp.. I can't remember when I had one of those :(

    Definitely our kids won't get that kind of memories, I doubt even if they would appreciate it. Though all we can do is tell stories about it, there is very little chance that they will really get to appreciate it since the world has grown out of those simple yet awesome era.

    Until later,
    Keirthana :)

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    Replies
    1. I miss those yummy little mangoes. And the delicious food. Sigh.. :(

      Bangalore really IS getting hot na? And the traffic. Phew!

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  7. I share this kind of hatred for Holi. Oh yes.

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    Replies
    1. I'm totally with you on this. Hate the festival as much as I hate Diwali.

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  8. So it is because of the Stomach-burning of people like you Bangalore is on fire.:-/

    I come from a place where the scale goes up to 44 to 45 degree celsius sometimes. So B'lore still feels like Swiss to me..:P

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha! Yes, major stomach-burning happening. :p

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  9. The weather is simply awful here as well. :/ The only saving grace is that it sometimes rains, and then things are okay for a while.
    Sigh, I miss gorging on mangoes and plucking flowers for pooja as well, I miss the Kerala monsoons at the end of summer- that was when Gulf kids like me would go back home. Those glorious days of the past!

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    Replies
    1. Come off home for the vacations this year na!

      By the way, why aren't you writing?

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    2. Just saw this comment now, Spiff! Sigh, major writers' block phase. :| Plus graduation woes, I think. Yes, I am coming back home soon :)

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  10. Its getting hotter by the day over here ma. And to think that i am gonna get married in about a months time and then head over to WARANGAL for a few more days is making me sweat even moreeeeeeeee.
    Oh the bliss of those lazy summer vacations in the native ,getting pampered by the grannies...aah..boy weren't we lucky?
    Sigh..give the nude cooking a shot :P:P:P
    Don't do with your hubby around though..cos i doubt if there woulkd be any cooking *grins*
    Cheers ma.
    fan yourself awayyy

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    Replies
    1. I'm so gonna whine when I come for your wedding. Just a heads up. :p

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  11. Acho, chennai summers can be very very hard if you aren't used to it. To me, it is just another regular day!

    your post made me all nostalgic about my own childhood summers in chennai! no big house, just one neem tree, loads of mangoes, dried vadams and all!

    If it makes you feel any better, singapore has chennai style climate all through the year!It is freaking hot here too :(

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  12. Summer here in Pune/Mumbai as always is bad and this time it is making me restless...So there it is, your sadistic pleasure :D
    But on the flip side, I am eating lot of ice cream and golas and well MANGOS, I just lurve them…
    so I can’t actually say I hate summers...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the sadistic pleasure. :D

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  13. I remember the scorching ho summers in Thrissur , but we are stuck with winter here that is dumping snow even in March.. which isn't fun either , but decidedly better than heat :)

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  14. haha. Well summer vacations are not as good as before - but it still is not bad either :D Agree with Red, Popy kuda thanne best kuda !

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  15. you have gained a new reader.

    btw, I am a Mallu form New Zealand. I know, we are here too in this pristine land. I don't know what is more scary, my Mallu compatriots or the dark forces of Sauron

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    Replies
    1. Welcome aboard, Anil. :)

      Knowing my own countrymen well, I would say the mallu compatriots are worse. :P

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  16. You have gained a new reader. I am a mallu from New Zealand. I don't know what is more scary, my compatriots or the dark forces of Sauron

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  17. It's hot in Chennai??? Hmmmmm... wonder how....?

    Sunny Leone's still in Sri Lanka....


    (ah, thank u :D)



    fc*klove

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  18. Trivandrum heat is also unbearable....is giving chennai tough competition!!!

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