Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The summer that never ends

Readers in the UK might see the title of this post and think "how lovely". Make no mistake, this is not going to be a lovely post. This is going to be a big old moan about Delhi's climate. Yes, I know I've been silent for two months and it's not good form to return on a whinge. I don't care. The weather in Delhi is to a large degree to blame for my failure to write anything since August, and it's about time I just said it out loud so we can both move on (hopefully, into a nice chilly winter).

I am sick and tired of this summer.

It is now seven months since the temperatures rose to what I would term largely uncomfortable. Admittedly for some of that time I was out of India, thanks to visa complications, but for the sake of rhetoric I will disregard that. Seven months of being perpetually sweaty. Seven months of attempting to sleep to the lullaby of my geriatric AC system or else lying spreadeagled on the bed feeling beads of moisture trickle down my forehead onto the pillow. And seven months of getting gradually, progressively, inexorably, more and more exhausted.

I don't know how people do this every year of their lives. I've never been so tired. OK, my job is fairly responsible, involves a lot of multitasking and a fair amount of travel, but on the other hand I'm not exactly working 18 hours shifts in the Emergency room. I shouldn't come home at the end of the working day with barely enough energy to open my front door. I shouldn't wake up in the morning after 10 hours of sleep feeling like I've had three. Doing something I love (recently, singing with my choir or making a short mostly-Hindi-language film with friends, which involved standing around on roadsides a lot and not understanding anything about the plot) shouldn't feel like an impossible demand designed to wring out the very last drop of enthusiasm from my mangled get-up-and-go. But that's how I feel right now.

Maybe it's not just the weather. Maybe it's Delhi - the traffic, the crowds, the pace of life, and all those other things that you have to deal with here. Maybe I just need a holiday (a proper one, rather than snatched long weekends which, although terrific fun, are not all that effective as a restorative). But my heart says that I just need to spend some time in temperatures well below 30 degrees C for a while.

I've lived through the Delhi summer before, but when I arrived last year it was already mid-June. This year, breaks aside, I've been here for the entire seven months. I think my body's just caved in. I'm not designed to cope with these temperatures for this long. Hell, I don't think anyone is.

So, the last couple of months have been marked by a feebleness unmatched by anything I've experienced since I was hooked up to a dozen medical machines as a 4 month old with meningitis. Since this has coincided with the recruitment of my team (finally!) and the corresponding increase in my workload (I'm sure that's not how it's supposed to go, but it has) it's left me unfit for much in the evenings beyond staring open-mouthed (and quite possibly dribbling) at YouTube videos of 1980s English cooking shows. I wish I was kidding about this.

I exaggerate but a little. To be honest, I've actually spent a lot of the last couple of months thinking about a whole ton of things and how India has changed my perspective on them. I haven't yet reached a sufficient degree of lucidity to blog about them yet. I hope that the cooler weather just around the corner (please, Lord, please) will let me do so. But for as long as summer keeps its gnarly hands grasped round October's throat, my productivity is more or less confined to the working day.


A Merican Punjaban PI said...

I don't think you exaggerate. I too experienced similar issues living in North India (Amritsar). It's a fatigue unlike any other. Between the shock your body absorbs from walking on concrete to the fluids your body loses while sweating, the whole system is very rough on a foreigners body.

I did learn to eat differently and monitor my water intake which helped quite a bit. Also, I changed the type of clothes I wore to the Indian thinner cotton versions. These allow so much more air through and keep your body from always being overheated.

If you travel a lot, try to take a little time to head up toward Himachal Pradesh, it's already cooled down considerably there. If you want to avoid the snow, head toward Amritsar. We got all the wind off of the snow and the feel of snow in December but no actual snow. It could be a nice change for a few days.

berlinbackagain said...

same here. summer in India truly seems never ending and exhausting. that's from my memories. i no longer "enjoy" Indian summers as I am back in Germany after 15 years. I remember how I cherished rainy days and cloudy skies... I also can fully recommend to head up towards Himachal Pradesh e.g. Dharamsala is cool and beautiful.

Kay in India said...

The other Indian metropolitan areas (like Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore) are a million times better. My husband's family lives in Mumbai and Hyderabad and the attitude, culture, and even the amount of pollution in the air in those areas are far more conducive to human living standards.

I've pretty much hear any Indian person who's not from Delhi (or North India in general) shudder when I say I live there.

Anna Jo Kap said...

you dont exaggerate at all. Yes sometimes the weather can be harsh. Sometimes i feel like i have lack of sleep and sometimes my bones are in pain sometimes i feel like i am a 80-years-old person (clearly i am not!). But what can you do? Delhi is like that.