Monday, March 30, 2009

Preparing for summer

For me preparing for summer used to involve fishing out my T-shirts, washing the windows so I could see out of them if the sun did actually come out and hoping it would get warmer. Well, the weather has certainly got warmer - it's currently about 90°F (32°C) – and it's still only spring. "This is cool compared to May", I keep being told. There are some nice things about the change in season though, you get more lassi (a yoghurt based drink) served in the office; mangos have come into season; and the quality and the variety of the vegetables in the market has improved significantly - I even found some spring onions last week. Despite the enhancements on the food front, I get the feeling that summer in Bhawanipatna is greeted with a sense of foreboding rather than relief or joy. The first thing you notice is that everyone is lining their windows with polystyrene sheets to prevent the heat of the sun coming through - I'm having some installed later this week. The other thing is the arrival of air-coolers for sale on every street corner. These are essentially boxes with leaves of straw inserted down three sides, a fan at the front and a tank of water. The idea is the water wets the straw which evaporates and then the fan forces out cold air which in turn expels the hot air out of the room. Having sweated my way through the last 10 nights – the ceiling fan just seemed to be blowing hot air at me – this evening I trotted down the road to buy one. Although they're clearly all the rage, they're not as simple as they're made out to be. The main problem is that Indians just don't seem go in for instructions. Having taken it out of the box (which was for something completely different so didn't even a sport a helpful picture), I spent most of this evening putting the thing together on the fly. First, I removed a random screw from the base – which I'll inevitably lose before I find out what it's for. I then poured a couple of buckets of water into the base - assuring myself there really wasn't anywhere else it could go - and in the process submerged something electrical that I think is the pump and sincerely hope is waterproof. Should I have removed the plastic strap that was holding it down? I didn't. Next I spent a good hour forcing an arbitrary array rubber tubes into the only places they seemed to fit and finally I switched on all the knobs – Pump, Main and Swing – heaven knows what Swing does - and ... well ... it hasn't blown up yet. It does, however, sound like a plane taking off so now I'm left with two options – hot or deaf. I have sneaking suspicion that I'll be choosing cool over quiet as we approach May unless of course it does blow up because that screw really was important or the plastic strap is to keep the electrical thing above the water not in it.

No comments: