As I write this, I'm being slow cooked in the skin as foodie-talk goes, the mercury in Mumbai is tottering on high heels between 36 degrees and 39 degrees. The evenings are marginally pleasant-er at early thirties. What makes the heat obsessive is perhaps the humidity. But after living most of my life in coastal cities, I must admit, I'd rather be steamed to death than spit-roasted in a dry tandoor like the heat in Delhi or Pune does. Having lived in both the cities, I must say there were days when I craved some sweat to cool my burning skin down. I'm sure a few noses have already wrinkled in disgust at my ode to sweat-inducing humidity, so let's get to more pleasant things.
I have blogged a while ago about a word-association game that my English teacher taught us to play while at school. It was a way of teasing the imagination, creating Word Sketches, quite literally. So an emotion or a colour could be expressed in more tangible terms. Say for instance, Pleasure could be answered with The First Lick of Cotton Candy while Black could be the Gathering Thunder Clouds before a Storm. There were no right or wrong answers, just the race among kids desperate to impress the teacher by coming up with the best word-association.
Over the last month, I tried to play the game with myself. Not words, but pictures. Here is what I came up with...
Summers are also the time for the juiciest of watermelons and muskmelons. I constantly thank the wonderful invention called the refrigerator that ensures a steady supply of cold water and iced teas. But more importantly, it keeps watermelon chilled cool. Dad often buys huge watermelons and lugs it home and Amma promptly cuts them, fills them into tall steel containers and shoves it to the coolest depths of the ice-box. By evening, we make massive inroads into these containers. Watermelons are tension-free fruits, unlike the sweet nectar like mangoes. Till last year, Dad's overt fondness for this summer fruit meant that he would buy them by the kilo at the price charged. This year, our mango tree has been yielding him Alfonsos, making all the love, care and little nothings that he has whispered to the mango tree to coax it to yield the sweetest mangoes.
Summers also spell barbeque by the beach, although barbecuing pork and beef sausages mean I'm usually stuck plucking off grilled peppers and mushrooms from the racks for myself. But even the sun-browned Indian skin craves the warm kisses of sunshine after acclimatising itself to the heat given off by the radiators to get rid off the chill that settles deep inside the bone.
Ooooh, talking of summers, ice creams should be the dessert to end this post on...Of all the ice creams that I have sampled from across the world, there is something to be said about the Turkish variety. They beat the cream in iced vats till the cream surrenders and pliantly lets itself be scooped. Each lick is creamy without any icicle to spoil the taste or texture. Someone whispered that the secret of a creamy Turkish icecream is the high quality goat's milk that is churned to make the ice cream. The chocolate flavours are not overtly sweet but cocoay, the vanilla oozes its flavour while a tangy lemon makes you squint while a big gulp can give you a brain freeze...Sigh! Nothing like an ice cream to cool your inners down as your skin burns away in the summer sun.