Posted in Of Funnies

Of Indian Summers

'According to the forecast, there'll be an Indian summer... In India.'

It is too hot to write essays. “April is the cruellest month” by T. S. Eliot has been making its annual round inside my head this (not so) fine month. Poetry is great and all, but it is redundant, in fact, mockingly cruel to celebrate summer through it. Especially, Indian summer. That expression is everywhere. I can’t read poetry, or most great literature for that matter, because it creeps in, insinuating that whatever it is supposed to be referring to is a beautiful thing. There’s even a Katy Perry song referring to the beloved as “an Indian summer in the middle of winter.” Trust me, you do not want an Indian summer in your life, whether it is a person, a thing or a weather.

INDIAN SUMMERS Finalmidres.jpg
Indian Summers

Maybe, it was slightly better 200 years ago. There was no industrial pollution, and there were more trees. But, even then, all the posh writers of the time ( or just, writers) migrated to cold areas during the long, much too long, Indian summer. There is a BBC period drama called Indian Summers starring Julie Walters. Again, it doesn’t qualify because I believe it takes place in Simla, which is a hill station. I wish I was in Simla. I wish I was in Darjeeling, as I drink my iced Darjeeling tea. India has everything, you know. It is the multicultural microcosm of the multicultural world. Sure, it has snow, rain and Springish weather going on somewhere in its vast expanse. But, I’m not in one of those situations, nor can I find a way to be in them in the next few months.

On top of that, everything has been going wrong for me, especially heat-specific things. I had to buy a new fan because my old fan threw projectile grease stains all around my room, destroying my The Beatles and Garfield posters, to make new art through what appears to be inspired by Van Gogh’s  The Starry Night. My air conditioner is not working optimally, neither is my water purifier. I have had to survive on a diet of Sprite, Coca Cola, mineral water and ice lollies. I live in dread of these socially repellent heat rashes I get if I don’t keep myself cool enough. I am irritable, angry, despairing, dying for a haircut, unable to eat anything appetizing for fear of throwing up…and all pop culture and art do is taunt me.

I’ve never been into surf rock much. I love the Ramones, so I don’t mind their covers of surf music. But, do they really have to tease me with, “Having, having fun yeah, in the warm California Sun”? Ideally, shouldn’t the Sun be equalish in this one rotation-a day planet? Why do we have to get the worst of it?

500 Days of Summer

There’s the film 500 Days of Summer. Now, that’s a scary prospect, but I’ve probably had over 5000 days of Summer, considering how every winter feels like a shade of summer. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the whole principle behind extreme weathers is envying the opposite of what you’re getting. Any expeditions to the Antarctic looking for a blogger to come along?

And then, there’s poetry. William Shakespeare. What could be wrong with the greatest writer of all time? Whose most famous poem happens to be Sonnet 18, i.e. “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?”:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

I love you Will, but are you insane?! Okay, so you redeem yourself somewhat in the next line (Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,), but you don’t know what a Summer’s day is. One in England 500 years ago doesn’t count. Temperate and it don’t go together. And don’t even get me started on May. I was a bud myself in May 1988, and there’s nothing darling about me one revolution around the Sun these days. It’s not possible to even be passably sane, at this time. And it is a leash all right, but you want it around for longer?!

Below is real Summer love poetry. Maybe it is not as good as Shakespeare, but it is authentic to the situation – a situation involving romance, poetry and true Indian Summer. It’s called,

The Sweat

It’s not just your armpits
Or the acne on your chest
Or the wet back of your t-shirt
Or things below, that are too impolite to discuss.

It is not your beady moustache
Or the droplets falling from your forehead into your eyes
Or the red bumps all over your long neck
Or the smelly nape of your neck, draped by your matted hair
Or the general smell of you, reminiscent of Nivea deodorant
Or the way you guggle water straight from a two-litre bottle
Or your incessant burping at the rich Chinese food I told you not to eat.
Or your incorrigible whining about the heat
And not having enough money to go on holiday to Kashmir.
Or that you’d rather watch videos on “How to beat summer” than sit in the garden with me in the evening.
Or take a bath in the middle of the night when we should be.

It isn’t any of these
That repulses me from the very thought of being near you.
No, it is just that I feel the same way too.

And the only thing that the Heat can Cool
Is my love for you.

How do you beat the heat?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

20 thoughts on “Of Indian Summers

  1. When I was a kid, summer was fabulous, in part because that is when we were out of school. Now, though it can be fun, I really dislike the heat, and being fair skinned, I have to be really careful in it now. So that usually leaves me staying in as much as I can in the air conditioning. But those days I have to be working is another story. I’m pretty sure that Dante had never encountered the NY subways in summer while writing about the rings of hell! This summer I will be getting a short respite of the heat for a brief trip to Ireland, but otherwise, it is lots of finding shade, lots of air conditioning, and lots of going out in the evenings. One other thought. Perhaps Katy Perry is referring to India in that line, but she may also be referring to what we call ‘Indian Summer’ over here for some inexplicable reason, which is a prolonged bout of dry and warm weather in the autumn, when it should be getting cooler. So if the forecast says we’re getting some Indian summer, it means it will be unseasonably warm. As I say though, I’m not sure the origins of it. Regardless, due to my wilting in the height of summer, it is not a favorite. And I’ll take your word for it on the real Indian summer! 🙂

    1. I did do some research before publishing this rant of mine (as you can tell, I did some ‘method’ preparation with this i.e., writing when it was unbearably hot). There is no definite origin for the expression. Wikipedia says it originates from when settlers in America encountered native Indian weather. But, I’ve found it in English Renaissance poetry, and in connection to India from this part of the world, exoticised and romanticized as it has been for a long time in Western literature.

      I did read about the modern American version as well, as you explain, so I guess that is what people refer to nowadays. Either way, I think I’ll have to go with Bananarama on this one and say, “Cruel Summer”!

      1. Interesting. I had no idea that the expression had traveled elsewhere, and indeed thought it must have been a phrase referring to a Native American phrase. We could do a whole string of summer song comments here. So you won’t be like Chris Rea and find yourself “Waiting For The Summer”? Or having the “Summertime Blues?” :-p

      2. Oh no! In fact, I was thinking of quoting Gershwin, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy”. Not! The Beatles “Rain” is more like it. Or Joni Mitchell “River”, though I’d probably hurt myself because I’ve never skated on ice!

  2. Ha ha, very funny. I, too, am not a fan of summer, or early summer — especially if it arrives in winter or spring. It’s almost 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) in New York today. Last week it was freezing. Go figure.

    1. That’s actually relatively mild and pleasant weather for us! Ours averages about 100 degree Fahrenheit. But, yes, the weather has been getting weirder and weirder lately, in most places. It might even become an interesting subject for conversation!

  3. Come to Canada 🙂 Our summers last two weeks and the rest is winter! Ha ha! Okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. We are finally getting some Spring-ish weather where I live. Mornings are still chilly. The snow has all disappeared, though, finally!

  4. I’ve always been curious about the phrase “Indian summer.” When I’ve heard it, It’s meant that the fall feels like summer (which I call “summer fall” — Makes more sense, no?)

    1. There was a time when we could distinctly feel an autumn/fall here, but now it’s just extended ‘summer fall’! I guess I’ll have to experience an American ‘Indian Summer’ to really tell. But, in America, it probably refers to native Indian weather, as seen through the eyes of the early settlers. That’s what it says on Wikipedia, at least.

  5. I’ve only heard the term Indian Summer to describe nice, summery weather in October. But I’m sorry you are so miserable in the heat, I do hope it gets better for you. It just FINALLY stopped snowing here and I think it is finally spring. But I shouldn’t speak too soon, it could still snow tomorrow.

    Stay hydrated, my friend.

    1. It would get more manageable if it rained, which it usually does by this time. But, it hasn’t yet, and its election season here, so there’s even more chaos in the air! Thank you for your concern! I hope you and your daughter are well.

  6. Gosh, Indian summers are no joke. You could sit next to an open window and still up as a soggy pile of mush. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you very much for reading! And yes, you could sit next to a window, under a fan, step out of an air-conditioned room for five minutes, or even take a cold shower, only to get drenched in your own sweat within minutes!

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