Thursday, May 03, 2007

An Indian summer

Although I come to India every year, this was my first visit in a long time during the month of high summer (May is the peak unless the rains are delayed in which case June gets the prize for nasty).

The highs are around 110F (42C), the lows hover around 80F (28C). You could fry that proverbial egg on the sidewalk. So what is a guy unused to the mother ship’s torrid summers supposed to do?

Especially if he loves roaming around town at all hours of the day on a scooter.

One of the things that really helped me get through these days (today I was out for 7 hours when it was the hottest outside) was constantly drinking water. It’s so well understood it’s trivial. And people in Vadodara seem to understand this. They’ll nod and tell you drinking water will keep you out of a hospital with an IV stuck in your arm.

But I don’t see people walking around with water bottles either. Granted it’s a little too NRI-chic to be doing that, but man, it works. The trick, of course, is to not get to a point where you feel thirsty. If you can do that, chances are you’ll be able to handle the heat well.

I consume between 3 and 4 liters of water a day. I start at 8am by filling up my 1 liter bottle. And I start sipping. It’d be great if the water stayed cool, but if you are outside it doesn’t. Nevertheless, sipping lukewarm is better than dehydrating.

To keep things interesting, I fill the bottle occasionally with a diluted mix of lichee squash. And as always it’s good to check your pee. If it’s colorless, you are doing well. If it starts tinting, hit the bottle!

I also try to avoid spicy food – which I must admit isn’t much fun at all. After all why bother eating at all? So two days ago, I was at Udupi in Fatehgunj eating a heavenly Mysore Masala Dosa – which comes smeared with chillies – with gusto and drinking steaming hot South Indian filter kaapi and feeling much like a baby corn tossed in a stir fry. No amount of water can help you after that.

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