I Read Somewhere

Summer (notes from Mumbai)

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.” 

{Anne, from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery}

My earliest and most vivid memory of summer is the shining beacon of every child’s year- the summer vacation. My brother and I had swimming lessons one summer, so we’d wake up early every morning, wash off the remnants of sleep by jumping into the pool, and come home tired and hungry, with the warmth of the sun lingering under our skin. Two sets of wrinkled fingers and toes attached to two happy children would get into mattresses laid out on the floor of our parent’s room- a vacation treat that we found unbelievably exciting.

Is it true that you love the season you are born in? Is it a part of you, because your first experience of life happened in it? 

“I really get very elated by again looking, by again seeing that the sky is blue, that the grass is green.” Willem De Kooning

I saw a roadside fruitwallah selling a giant pile of jackfruits. Lazily sprawled on the edge of the pavement, they resembled a family of crocodiles tanning themselves, unbothered to even swat away the hovering flies. The king of fruits: summer staple mango, looked quite mundane in comparison.

The only sensible way to spend a summer is elbow deep in cold mango slices. There can be no alternative facts about this.

Something about the humidity makes people want to comment on it publicly, repeatedly. Notice the people who enter a room and remark, to no one in particular, “It’s so hot!”. You will soon lose count- they’re every where.

I find that summer and monsoon are linked in a parasitic way. You can’t curse the heat without longing for rain; the discomfort of one leads the mind to the hope of relief the other will bring. 

I love taking Uber pool rides. The meandering away from your normal route forces you to wake up and really look at the city around you. It’s particularly a treat to get lost in South Bombay; seeing old bungalows with bougainvillea trickling down wrought iron gates, trying to read the names of the long forgotten original residents inscribed in plaques and simply seeing row after row of glorious champa trees can entertain me for hours. On most days, these buildings look ordinary, but when the golden glow of the sun bathes their pastel walls, the brightness almost blinding, I’m transported to the days of my grandparent’s youth in newly independent India, in Bombay-not-yet-Mumbai; a full colour rendition of b&w photographs I’ve seen, and I feel nostalgia for a time I wasn’t alive in. I time travel with the daydream; in it the air seems delicately scented, and the light feels warmer.

A woman fishing in her large, filled-to-the-brim handbag, while holding multiple bags and/or a child’s hand, is a universal image, one we’ve all seen before. She’s always slightly annoyed, but mostly impatient at the cheek of the object she’s looking for to remain hidden for so long. When it is hot outside, and she has to fish around while battling the discomfort of sweat trickling down her brow is the tipping point — is she going to throw the bag down in frustration and give up, or is she going to hold herself together and get through it?

This is joy, this is summer
Keep alive, stay alive

Skyline To by Frank Ocean

The sky is so bright you have to take notice, and I sometimes feel like it peeps out at you at every turn you take. Look up- it’s there hiding in the gap between buildings. Reflected on the shiny new glass buildings- there again, turning the entire surface blue. Reflected on the windshields of parked cars- no prizes for guessing, it’s there, this time a motion picture of leisurely moving clouds. It takes on a roguish personality this time of the year, which I find delightful.

The sea is blue, staggeringly blue, a welcome change from its year long dreary grey monochrome. Many artists believed that blue is the deepest colour - the colour of infinity - and in summer it’s obvious why. The cloudless, spotless sky ‘looks as if there is no end to it’s blueness’, and when it meets the deep blue sea, magic happens. The sea is still, barely rippling, but always twinkling mischievously and the colourful fisherman’s boats look like playthings, dwarfed by the united vastness of sky and sea. You’d think yellow was the colour of summer, sunshine yellow, but for me it’s undoubtedly blue, infinite blue.

Sneha Mehta