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Those hottest of summers

June 11, 2014

Remember when we had visited you in Moradabad? my cousin asked. You must have been all of two years old, so you probably don’t. It was summer, and we all slept outdoors, in charpoys all laid out in a row in the gardens of those bungalows left behind by the British. These were the days before air conditioners.

A dim memory stirs. Warm breeze turning cooler by the morning, mosquito nets, and my mother sitting by the bedside, guiding me and my sisters to sleep. How beautiful to sleep under the stars, watched over by Orion, the steady companion. I do have to say though, that this last is not remembered, but a super-imposition of later memories. So goes memory. How reliable it seems until we wade into its depths.

Of course, for most people in this record-breaking heat of summer, life has not changed much. Air conditioners are a rarity, and almost no-one has centrally cooled homes. Here we are, visiting Delhi and Gurgaon in a year which has seen days hotter than anything my age-mates have seen. This time I am not minding it, and it is not because of retreating into cooled air. It is a thought given by a cousin.

A few years ago, when I was grumbling about the intense heat, worsened by regular and long power cuts, a cousin reminded me with a twinkle in her eye: “You would pay a lot to get a sauna – here you are getting it free.”

It helps me. Thoughts are powerful. They move anywhere we will.

Where’s your thought moving today?


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