Facing a Scorcher of a Fry-Day

It’s going to be a scorcher in Sydney.  A sizzling day! Record breaking heat wave in November like never before.  Stay indoors. Take a break if you can afford to…blah blah blah!!’

Since yesterday, all the TV weather experts and radio-anchors have been warning us about how bad a day will this be – a sizzling Fry-day. That it’s going to fry us living beings with temperature soaring above 41 degrees. And sure enough, it’s an extreme given that it’s not even summer yet and the maximum till now has been around 23 degrees.

That way, Wednesday and Thursday too were rather warm, lethargic and humid.  In the morning as my son woke up I could see him listless, as if he had body-ache. I showered some wisdom on him, that if he sleeps topless like he does, and that too with a ceiling fan on at its full speed, he’s bound to get body-aches.

After saying this I was surprised at why I said that.  And then I remembered something said by someone long ago.

It was when I was younger – in school and later in college –  the good old days when we had fans or else those big four-footed coolers externally stuck to windows outside the rooms. There were some AC type gadgets for inside but I think they too were mini room-coolers. That’s because even though nowadays almost every middle-class Indian home has air-conditioners, these got popular only in the last ten to fifteen years.

So yes. Back in those days, even on a very hot Indian summer day, I was happy with a full-speed ceiling fan, but I generally avoided sleeping too close to the rhythmically noisy coolers that had a habit of occasionally sprinkling water droplets on us (they work by circulating water within the machine). These stray droplets did feel good but you know…a sleep disturber plus one may wake up with a runny nose.

Sometimes, on such hot and sultry days I used to share my room with someone who couldn’t even bear a medium speed fan.

My grandmother, who usually didn’t live with us, used to visit us off and on. My mother didn’t want her to sleep alone, so we youngsters were supposed to share a room with her. Given that my sister very essentially needed a watery cooler next to her bed or vice-versa, whereas I was content with a fan, usually I was the one to sleep in the same room as my grandma. In any case I was fond of talking to her, or at least I could sense she always needs someone to talk to and I was happy to do so.

Thus sharing the room, with lights off and a ceiling fan on at a very low speed, I would be half-asleep while listening to her as she told me about many of her everyday problems, her daily health issues. It was on one such day that she had mentioned about why she felt her aches and pains became worse if the fan is at its maximum number. I tried to agree with her while patiently bearing the discomfort of a less than desirable room temperature, for I knew it that I’ll fall asleep anyway for I had a busy school day ahead.

I don’t know exactly what she meant by her experience with hi-speed fans and there’s no way I can ever find out for she’s no more there to tell…but if there was any truth in her saying, shouldn’t it apply to current conditions as well?  But my son laughed it away.

Well, coming back to dealing with Sydney sizzler…it’s arrived and there’s information on ways to deal with it.

While we do that, this sudden onset of high temperatures certainly means it’s time to pack away the woolens and sweaters, to stack them on the top shelves of the closets.  And I suppose it’s also time to pack the beloved memories of dear departed souls; stack them away in mind’s closet till they force themselves out, resurface to touch my life like this heat-wave and catch me unaware. Like they always do.

Meanwhile, here’s some sunny thinking about the worst of heat waves…

To Love the Coming and Going of Seasons

If we want, we can be happy in every season.

A heart full of love is the prime reason, that even when all seasons turn, turn, turn they still carry a special beautiful meaning for us. Here, by love I mean love between young or old lovers, between happily married couples or love within your family, friends and general humanity.

Our age and vitality is another reason. By age, I do not mean just physically young age with its plentiful energy and zeal to live, but also the youthfulness of heart in people who are ‘young at heart’.

Which means, to a generally happy and content heart, all seasons seem good.  An unhappy heart will not even notice the change in seasons. Thus, abundant love and youthful feelings at any age can make us look forward to any season.

When love sprouts in our heart early on, everything is romantic and wears a rosy sheen.P1050651 Spring flowers and bird songs carry a special meaning for a heart in love.

Likewise, heavy rain that is at its worst during a full-swing rainy season, may often be abhorred by others around you, but if you are in a desirable company of someone you love, you won’t mind walking in the rain for miles, even without umbrella. Similarly, a group of youthful (young at heart) friends in a mood to enjoy rainy season will love every drop of water falling on their fresh faces. For the same reason, sitting indoors in our home and hearth with our families, even when wild rain thuds and creates noise, is far from scary. Rainy season becomes a family occasion for special food being cooked, a charming fun event.

For a person with heart full of love, dry autumn leaves seem to sway and fall gracefully; and walking on crunchy leaves hand-in-hand with your loved one creates a rustling music like in no other season does.

Likewise, winters too seem unpleasantly cold only if our hearts have gone cold and frozen. Oh for the love that melts ice in our hearts, the chill within relationships!  These clichéd thoughts remind me of the song ‘Frozen’ by Madonna, and the lyrics ‘you’re frozen, when your heart’s not open

Oh well! That was one way of viewing seasons, that is, accepting the reality that it is our personal feelings that make seasons influence us positively or negatively. Too much happiness and too much unhappiness render us oblivious to any good or bad changes around us.

And yet, other than our personal moods, there is also a certain practical and physical side to it. The hard facts. On seeing myriad colorful flowers and after inhaling sudden fragrances of spring, even a very sad unloved person is liable to cheer up for the time being. That is the power of nature and flowers. To a person in a normal mood, most fruit and flower trees anyway give greater joy during spring season.

Some time ago, during late spring, this fig tree in my yard was lush green and full of figs, but now so barren, with every fruit and leaf gone. Few days ago, in early winters, on seeing a few off-season figs, I felt sudden joy and delight, more than on seeing a tree full of figs in their full season.

Which means, other than love in our hearts that makes us sensitive towards seasons, there is some definite impact of seasonal changes via physical beauty of nature, as also through other physical consequences of changing seasons, esp. the extremes of heat and cold.  Ask a homeless and poor person which season he/she likes the best. Can’t be winters. And even a rich person, who is badly susceptible to catching flu in winters, cannot be in love with this season, even though he/she can afford best possible medical help.

Moreover, shorter winter days seem to be generally less productive. Physical mobility is also less if one finds it hard to wake up early and go to work. But that means, winters provide plenty of rest and warm snug sleep. Now that too is a blessing if not carried too far! Other than that if and when sun comes out during winters, which is plentiful in Australia, it is highly welcome.

That way, summers get many things done what with their longer sunny hours. But then again summers produce scorching heat accompanied by physical exhaustion throughout the day. Nature counteracts this by providing treasures of summer fruits, that we can top up with drinks and ice-creams.

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Rain drops today – from my front door

See, I can go on and on and justify that all seasons are good if we have open hearts, and as for our comfort, well nature shows a balancing act in all seasons.

Personally speaking, at all times in life, whether there is abundant love or no love around me, extreme happiness or no happiness, I have no complaint with any season. For I am lucky that I am not homeless during severe heat, cold or rain. I count my blessings, that I still have many reasons to be happy in life, irrespective of seasonal tantrums and turnovers.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn
Seasons change so quickly! Which one do you most look forward to? Which is your least favorite?

. Also for WPC photo prompt Seasons

 

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Prancing Nature…Helpless Humans

Early this week, in Shine after Rain I wrote about the three-day super storm that lashed Sydney recently.

Sydney-siders had not even recovered from the previous storm that two days down the track yesterday again a freakish unusual storm battered Sydney, this time with hailstorm.
I captured some of the heavy rain and hail in motion as you can see the white vertical haze.

While this hailstorm was causing chaos in Sydney, minutes after that came along a huge earthquake causing devastation in Nepal.

These are vagaries and forces of mother nature. One moment we sit calm and quiet, the next moment we are badly shaken. Nature makes us run around in awe and fear.

In olden days, it was not possible to capture images of shaking earth during earthquakes or overflowing waters causing tsunami. But nowadays the same cameras that take our beautiful selfies, the same security cameras that we deploy to save us from impending dangers, now they show us our very own devastation in the hands of nature…as it occurs minute by minute.

My poem on the above thought:

these time machines
capture live selfies
now film
the dance of death
seize
poignant moments
devastation alive
acquaint us
with our grim reality
for we are but
puppets and pawns
in the hands
of time and death

The above video (courtesy: you tube) shows yesterday’s earthquake in Nepal shaking the earth. My Haiku poem to sum up nature’s dance:

Dame nature scares us
with its moody moves and shakes
Another victory on humans

Nature’s victory on humans. Yes. But as usual we rise above it all by sharing our resources with those who have been hard hit. The undaunted human spirit survives.

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One Word Photo Challenge: Hail and Storm

Header: self-clicked – hail on the grass.

Shine after Rain…

It never rains but it pours.  When It pours… it pours and pours. We get our miseries (as well as happiness) in abundance…and if something bad happens then simultaneously other bad things come knocking, leaving us confused as to what to do.

But here in Sydney, for the last three days we saw the physical and literal meaning of this saying being carried out. Sydney and other areas in NSW experienced ‘super storm’ of the century.  Along with heavy downpour came whole bundle of problems that continued from Monday to Wednesday.

The rain itself was something that had not been seen in the last 100 years. It was accompanied by gushing cyclonic winds with a speed of above 90 km/h and up to 130 km/h.

Overall life within the city was influenced what with commuting and transport rendered extremely difficult if not impossible. More than 200 traffic signals in Sydney area were out of service on Wednesday morning.  School closures took place, offices too closed or became relaxed about staff presence for all these three days.

In such a weather, electricity is needed the most but in parts of NSW, around 200,000 homes went without power.  As if that wasn’t enough, flash flooding influenced thousands of homes, with some houses going under water.

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On a personal front also, the same misery.  Three muggy days.

Even if I tried to avoid going out as much as possible but inside the house also day and night one had to bear the sound of rain lashing noisily on the roof as well as window panes. P1060005It was a pain to patiently watch the plants in the yard suffer as wild weather vicitimized them ruthlessly. Couldn’t save some of my plants but felt good giving shelter to birds that spent hours in my back porch/verandah. These unexpected guests left my home well fed.

But in the evening it was something urgent so I had to venture out in heavy rains although it was dark even before five pm, esp. as early winter sets in. I was already caught in this weather, on top of that my car remote stopped working.  I fumbled while trying to open the door with the car key, something I’m not used to plus visibility was poor so I stood there fully drenched locating the key-hole. On top of that I observed one of the head-lights wasn’t working properly. Thus I messed up the car seats as I drove fully dripping and on the way back picked up my son at train station who was even more soaked from head to toe.

Imagine what it  means to enter your house fully wet, with soggy bags and dripping clothes. P1060017Then waddle through the puddle in front of the outer door while downpour is full stream.  Foot mats become useless in this weather.  Full of water, completely soggy. Teaches a lesson to always have extra door mats or keep old towels spare and handy to serve the purpose. Anything to avoid the house getting messy (ier).

While the government will have a tough time cleaning up and calculating the costs incurred by this storm, at home front for me too another day was gone drying all these wet items and cleaning the house. My two umbrellas, the only good ones I had, sacrificed their lives serving their owners. Cruel death after complete disfigurement.

After three murky days, today on Thursday morning…”it” came out.  It comes out everyday. Ok. But when it goes disappearing for a few days at a stretch, only then we know what we are missing.  I’m talking about the round golden thing that peeps up through some distant eastern horizon to shine and brighten our day. In summers we almost dislike it but after such heavily foggy and soggy three days…today our sun seemed like a complete blessing.

See. Every storm, big or small, passes away sooner or later.  Thus thinking I let the rays of bright sunlight fall on my uncovered arms and face, and relished its warmth.

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Today’s sunset from my backyard seemed special…

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For The Daily Post’s writing prompt” Slash and Burn

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Also for One Word Photo Challenge: Storm 

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