Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Pink snow

It's taken me a while to get used to this Delhi monsoon.  It's a cycle we go through every few days. The days get hotter and hotter till the tar on the road melts and sticks to my sandals. Expeditions outdoors are invested with a sense of daring. Only the most intrepid brave the heat.

The evenings get very still. The disappearance of the sun brings no relief. The earth takes its time dispensing the heat it has absorbed all day. The air is heavy. It is at this time that troops of ants march relentlessly indoors, finding cracks in the wall to disappear into. Panda takes a break from lying panting on the floor, to paw at them investigatively.

We carry on like this for as long as six days at a time, and by the fourth day, take to predicting the rain, knowing it will come. Each time though, the rain takes longer, as if testing our faith. When it comes, it comes with almost no warning. The sky is no help. It continues looking grey and ominous while the sun beats down from it, and even after the rains it remains that way.

The rains bring some relief. The morning after them, Panda and I have great fun peeking at our reflections in puddles. While he shies away growling, I self-consciously check my hair. It is very pleasant on those mornings, just after the rain. But as the run goes higher and higher, it dries up all those little puddles determinedly. By evening, all that is left of them is a crust of mud along the sides of the road. And then it all begins again.

The one good thing about all this is that I'm getting a great deal of use out of my ice cream maker. Why have lemonade when you can churn it into a sorbet? Why drink coffee when you can eat gelato? Don't throw away that awfully grainy fudge, churn it into ice cream. We have contrived to spend these monsoons merrily indeed.

In that spirit, I hacked away at a watermelon, juiced its innards, strained and chilled it. I then churned it to pretty pink snow and ate it out in the garden, in defiance of the sun.