An Arid March

March 5 and 6 2011 had to be the driest days I’ve experienced since I started living in Bangalore. I am not sure what March 7 will bring because, well, as of writing, it hasn’t begun. No doubt it will be drier still.

The Hindu insisted that on March 6, humidity was 75%. And it predicts that March 7 will be one percent drier - 74%.


I check the forecasts again, obsessively for the following days - RH hovers around 75%. It can’t possibly be. My feet are grey after just an hour outside. Within the house they seem to flake away.

The apartment floor is tracked with dust from outside blown in by a scraping wind and the skin off my feet.


A cousin (named after Winnie Mandela) once talked about how she’d like to be a meteorologist. The only job, she said, that you could suck at and fail, and still keep.

The Indian Meteorological Department is a popular joke in the family: Monsoon to start next week? Well stick your recently sucked finger in the air, check which way the wind is blowing and you’re sure to guess it more correctly than them. What little one, tomorrow?

And the next day the monsoons will start.

Light haze in the sky, the newspaper reports with impressive satellite pictures will proclaim.

It will be the clearest blue top that you’ve seen in your life.

Brighter than summers in Muscat and Kerala, once again the devil wind blowing and the skin off your nose peeling.


Days like these are not made more endurable when you start watching programs on African elephants and they wallow in red sand, turning their grey skins a dusty orange. They wander off looking refreshed and you ponder the possibility of taking a roll in the dust when you’re out next in the mid-morning dry heat.

You don’t lie down and do it, you slyly remove a slipper and experiment with an elephant-inspired soil foot bath. Your skin is drier and now you’re tracking dust, sloughed off foot skin and dignity on the apartment floor.


The scalp comes off, in your hair brush.

The hair follows and you have visions of bald patches and weeping mothers.
Water just makes your hands drier.

You put on the TV and there’s Soha Ali Khan’s friend insisting in an ad that Soha looks “radiating”.

There are too many functionally illiterate morons in the country, mostly middle class, and they all work in the media.


A bottle of green olives are finished in a week. The last quarter in just an evening.

That night, you’re drier inside than out.


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