The air-conditioner has been purring unobtrusively as it does all through the day, transforming our home into a winter wonderland, while the two potted plants in the balcony have sadly wilted either under the care of my not-so-green fingers or due to the sweltering heat.
The thermostat has been set to 24 degrees so as to ensure that the husband will not be in for a rude shock at the sight of the electricity bill by which time the children and I will be temporarily relocating (vacationing) to parents’ and in-laws’ homes, where we will carry on with the same tasks, routines and life in general to a different venue — until schools reopen.
Last year, after the monsoons wreaked havoc, I stacked our suitcases with winter clothes only to have warm sunny days ahead of us. Parents and relatives cheerily said that we had brought along sunshine into their cold and damp days, while my children perspired swathed as they were in their winter clothing, leaving the thirsty mosquito party singing their song of frustration.
So this year, I have packed for every conceivable weather condition, along with medication to combat every sort of illness or rash that usually return untouched save for the antacids that come in handy every time I lose sleep after Little Princess coughs or Sid gets a mosquito bite.
As much as I wish to travel light, the ‘weight’ of my packing hits me at the baggage carousel upon our arrival when I invariably need a few strong helping hands to successfully mount them on airport trolleys.
Upon our arrival to grandmother’s home, the grown-ups got busy catching up with their siblings, leaving us cousins to pick up from where we had left our exploration of the vast property the previous summer.
We enjoyed our days amid the thicket of mango grooves. The adults rarely fussed over us and our interactions were limited to meal times and disastrous afternoons when we were caught raiding grandmother’s store stacked with goodies.
We lived in perfect harmony alongside the mosquitoes and the rare bugs. Upon our return, we sported a healthy tan, our limbs strong and mouths bearing the stains of mango sap from days spent climbing trees and greedily devouring mangoes.
Today, my children need me to guide them through the routine even during the summer break while we get together with another nuclear family living their carefully charted routine in a small houses that boasts of a vegetable patch and a mango tree.
The children are jumpy at the sight of mosquitoes and terrified of croaking toads. Sun downs include closing every window and covering every crevice that might allow the villain mosquito into a home that houses two children with sweet blood.
Luckily, the children can continue to sleep soundly under the purr of air-conditioners that often leave us with frost bites by the early morning hours, but ensure that the stray mosquito that ventured into our repellent-barricaded fortress has failed to get its fill of sweet blood as it froze under its icy grip.
This is an extract from a piece that was published on August 11,2018, in the Gulf News. Click here to read the original piece.
Good morning friends! It is wonderful to be back to the wonderful virtual world after a long break. A big thank you to all of those who tried to reach me to find out if all was well. I have just returned after a long holiday and will be slowly and steadily be making up for all that I have missed during my absence.
Until then, wishing you all a very happy Sunday!