It’s summer again, that time of the year when us Bombayiites (yes, screw you, MNS) bitch relentlessly about the heat. As we wade through labyrinthine traffic-jams and risk monoxide poisoning, as we hang from delayed local trains that force us into unreasonable familiarity with our polyester-wearing fellow passengers, as we go about our day while the sweat streams down in rivulets, we bitch.
So imagine my surprise the other day, when I didn’t.
That’s right. I was outdoors in the blistering noon heat and I wasn’t bitching.
Location played an important role here, of course. I was sitting in the side-car of my dad’s old scooter*, driving through South Bombay and getting all the benefits of a convertible at a ridiculous fraction of the cost. I had the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and stretched all above me, the blue, blue summer sky. With trees lining the roads we passed. Trees that had shed their autumn colours in favour of every imaginable shade of green. From sap to moss, from grass to neon – it was all there. Dotting the landscape in an effusion of colour.
It would be gross exaggeration to say it took my breath away. It did distract me from bitching out summer though. And that, like anyone who has faced the sticky, humid Bombay summer knows, is saying a lot. That’s when it struck me – when we stay cooped up inside little vehicles, AC or otherwise, when we look out from behind the bars of trains or windows, when we stay close to the ground for too long, we don’t notice the sky. Or the trees. Or any of the wonderfulness nature is throwing at us while we choke on the smoke of our own inventions.
So do yourself a favour next time. While you’re alternating curses against global warming and silently thanking the inventors of the air-conditioners, take a small break. And look up at the sky.
*Ah the side-car scooter! A relic of simpler times, when the Nano was a gleam in Tata’s eye, rather than a nightmare. Purchased by the family man, driven by no self-respecting teen wanting a ride of his own and immortalised by Sholay. Okay, remniscence over, back to the post now.