It happens every year. Exactly the same progression of events, just in higher degrees of suffering and desperation. Every year, the summer slowly gets to me. The air gets thicker and stickier still as the weeks inch along painfully. The insides of my home get progressively stiller, stuffier and by the end of May I’m at that point (usually a weekend) where I absolutely cannot take it anymore. The tipping point, when the mind boggles just wondering how much hotter it can possibly get, and a whole 24 hours is spent indoors within an artificially cooled room, eventually comes when the heat builds up to this impossible crescendo of sweat and tears. This year has been no different. Just a little extended and the agony a little prolonged. It’s June and the much awaited monsoon is yet to make an appearance.
I’ve been a wreck this summer, but you know that already. And what that means is I’m constantly battling a condition where my energy is fading faster than I can double up on the Enerzal; a perennially wilted, sticky and oily face; all new rock bottom lows in enthusiasm to do anything goes. Things are off, something is wrong, to put it slightly ambiguously. And as is always the case, when my head and heart are not at peace, it begins to reflect around me. The house is a bit of a mess — nothing major, small niggling signs that prick me when I notice them. Piles of dry clothes lie unfolded and the mountain is only growing. My fridge needs cleaning, but I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve slacked off big time on supplies too. Anymore and we will wake up one day to no toothpaste. In fact there’s many things that need to be replenished but the list that usually comes to with a little thought at the start of the month, attacks me at odd times in fits and snatches, and I’m feeling a bit inadequate because I don’t have a handle on it all. Basic chores that I am usually very prompt about are lying undone for days on end. Meals are half-assed excuses to get some food down our gullets. Cooking has been stripped down to the bare minimum. Repurposing leftovers is the name of the game. Because what little enthusiasm I muster at the start of every day is reduced to a tiny smidgen that is quickly squished to nothingness by noon. After that I struggle to eat lunch — or worse, make a meal of falooda or buttermilk — and then lie on the floor under the fan for the next 3-4 hours doing absolutely nothing.
Even picking up a book to read seems to be a chore. I seriously can’t remember the last time I baked anything. I have let the food blog die a silent death once again, and getting any writing done is proving to be a draining activity. Getting some real brain work done is close to unthinkable, because even the most basic stuff is a herculean task. I have been moping around for the last few weeks, this unexplained listlessness wrapped over me like a shroud I cannot shed. The sheer inertia is impossible to shrug off and movement is unimaginable. Thank god my work load is a lot lesser, but somehow its still piling on like never before — how?! It’s totally not like me to leave emails unanswered, and the list is now spilling out of my inbox because I can’t get myself to sit at my laptop long enough and focus on something productive. The only thing that has managed to channel some amount of productivity and focused energy is the planning and organising of this event (a post on that is in order) and a binge-fest of all eight seasons of That 70s Show (a post on that is coming up too). Apart from these things and working out like a maniac (seriously the only boost of energy in any given day), all I seem to be doing is perfecting the art of lying around and waiting for something to change.
That was the state of affairs until Monday — which I officially call the worst day of the season, thus far. That impossibly, blindingly bright white-hot summer that hits you in slanting rays you can shield yourself from, no matter how hard you try. Indoors its a furnace, outside its a sauna. The good thing is when you reach that day when even just breathing becomes difficult, forget moving around and getting much done, you know the next day will most certainly be a rainy one. And sure enough, it came down on us at midnight. In bright flashes of lightning that lit the deep blue square of darkness that is my window, punctuated by the crack and bang of roaring thunder. Of course I woke up and was delirious for excitement, peeked outside and watched it wash down for a good fifteen minutes, before I decided I could sleep in peace again.
One good pre-monsoon wash is all it takes for temperatures to dash down to the 20s. The dust has settled and I feel like the clouds have lifted. I can breathe again. I can live again. Almost instantly, the morning after was a relief. The metaphoric spring in my step was back. I woke up and went about things with renewed alacrity, like the person I was for the past few weeks had been shed like a discarded sock, flung off my foot at the end of a long and tiring day. And an energetic me surfaced from beneath, pumped with energy from reserves I didn’t know existed.
As summer inches along, I wait for this kind of a morning. The morning after. The morning after a night of beautiful rain. The morning after a night of beautiful rain, following a wickedly hot day. It’s like pouring a bucketful of water and putting out a hungry fire, in a single, sweeping, all-consuming move that shows who’s boss. It’s like watching with a sigh of relief, as the last embers die out hissing silently, and knowing you ended it in the nick of time. Anymore and it might have burnt too far. And then you stamp the ground with pounding steps, stifling the last embers gasping for breath, killing what was left of the wretched, destructive heat and speckles of sordid summery that they carry. You go to bed, rest assured that the morning after will see a new day.