I remember those sweltering summers of Bellary town which is popularly known to have only two seasons, summer and hot summer. My husband’s posting left me with no option but spend many summers there. I would wake up to the motionless ambience of the morning already showing signs of a hot day ahead. Not a leaf in my small garden would stir adding to the listlessness of the dry atmosphere. The power cut would coincide with my cooking time and naturally I had no choice but change the latter. In some rare instances where I forgot to juggle my timings I would turn to my ancestral gift, the good old grinding stone.
Cotton clothing for the family became a necessity and the husband was verily tempted to don the versatile lungi, risen to Bollywood glory of late, to the office rather than the stuffy pants. With frequent power cuts ice creams would not set and the freezer became the repository for daily wear! It was such a delight to wear the refrigerated dress or shirt in the evening when temperatures showed no signs of abating. The town surrounded by giant rocks would refuse to cool down even deep into the night. It was a gala time for the dealers in air cooling systems. The air cooler made a grand entrance into our home and the setting turned blissful indeed.
Finally, it was time to bid adieu and move over to the next town. The place, although set in the plains, seemed like a hill station after the previous experience. The air cooler that was securely packed remained so for years. One fine summer as we were expecting visitors from the hilly terrains it was brought down from the attic. The packaging was carefully removed and the cooler faced us like a long-lost friend. With as much excitement as when it was brought new, water was poured inside and power turned on. The roar made us happy that it was alive. But instead of cool air, the machine spewed water.
Not one to be deterred easily, I recalled having seen a shop nearby advertising servicing of cooling systems. I went and brought a young lad to the house. With an air of confidence he dismantled the machine, declaring that a little oiling would do the trick, adding that new internal mats would aid in window dressing, and also facilitate clean air. He soon came back with the requisites and did everything as planned. A blade got broken in the bargain which was somehow put in place. The power cut foiled the trial run.
Money changed hands and he left, with a parting shot that he had been a dancer at his native town and his uncle had recently brought him here to this vocation for bread and butter. It was too late to backtrack and the cooler failed to even whimper after the “dancer’s” masterstrokes.