Everyone has heard the famous song by Bryan Adams about the ‘Summer of ’69’ and the legendary song by The Eagles named ‘Hotel California’ whose lyrics read
“…How they dance in the courtyard,
Sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember,
Some dance to forget…”
Justin Timberlake sang about ‘Summer Love’ while a jillion books have been written on this subject. Even Olaf, the snowman croons about his love for summer in the award winning animated movie ‘Frozen’ through his delightful ‘Summer Song’!
Thinking about the imminent summer gives me a feeling of warmth coursing through me. It reminds me of the exuberant days of my childhood. I remember the free flowing sweat dripping down my forehead as I ran around the park playing ‘catch me if you can’ with my friends. Ladies going for an evening stroll in the park with their babies smiling shyly at strangers from the safety of their perambulators. The action packed pathways in the park full of the health conscious community jogging and doing other exercises on the grass. Full-fledged yoga classes for the middle-aged, karate classes for kids and laughter therapy for senior citizens in different corners of the park. Lush green trees heavily laden with summer’s full bloom of leaves and fruits, vividly colorful flowers and angelic butterflies fluttering around them and the industrious bees drawing nectar from the full blooms and spreading pollen like fairy-dust, are some of the stunningly picturesque visions that fill my head when I think of sunny season. As a child, summer is a beautiful time.
But as a young adult, I now see summer in a different light. I imagine a summer love but instead unwanted tans, the stench of sweat emanating from people in public transports, my own shameless sweaty pits the world can see have been my experiences when I am ill-equipped. It’s rightly called the ‘dog days’. Keeping in mind the pros and cons of summer, I came up with many ways to prepare for this sunny season and make it more joyful, enjoyable and exciting. Here are the top 10 on my list:
The obvious way to prepare for summers is by putting away your sweaters and jackets to make way for shorts and skirts. Do not forget to dump those heavy quilts and blankets inside the bed-box. Update your house with lighter and brighter curtains and drapes. Pack up the heaters and blowers and stuff them in your store room. Get your air-conditioner serviced and coolers cleaned and ready to be put to use. Adorn your house with fresh flowers. Paint your walls in shades of light yellow, pink, blue or green. This will ensure reduced temperatures inside the house as lighter walls absorb lesser heat from outside. Check the quantity of the coolant in your car and get it re-filled, if necessary. Keep a bottle of water handy in your car in case the engine needs some cooling down. And do not overlook your best friend- the fridge! Load it with bottles of water and fill-up the ice trays too. Inversion is the 10th most important way to prepare for India’s summer wave.
As the days grow longer, the time for `things-to-do ratio’. Students get bored of their summer vacations! Especially hyper-active people like me, even one hour seems to stretch into forever. So why waste that one hour of a beautiful summer day gazing into nothingness? Rather do something constructive, something you enjoy doing! That being the case, enrollment is the 9th in the countdown to prepare for a typical summer day. Enroll in a class that appeals to you. Learn a new language or join any new-age computer technology. Take dancing or singing lessons. Master any musical instrument of your choice. Join any arts and crafts class. Or apply for writing or photography internship. You could even volunteer at any shelter to teach under-privileged children how to read and write. But undoubtedly, the best way to beat the heat is to join a swimming class! There is a whole range of endless pursuits which could take your fancy this summer. Don’t laze around. Rather utilize the extra hours in a day.
Don’t get me wrong! I am talking about drugs as in medicines. Hypersensitive people develop allergic reactions to a lot of things. Pollen and dust cause constant sneezing, wild flowers induce skin eruptions, weeds and even grass sometimes creates rashes. Even the beautiful but harsh sunlight causes my skin to go too red and develop rashes. Summer is a season for all the very things that cause many people allergies. You can’t avoid these things so you must stay prepared with the respective medicines for these physical reactions. Also, summer is the time when water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis etc are spread. Beware! The sweet-sour saunt of the gol-gappe could become deadly! You must stay careful to not fall for the seductive roadside food. But if you can’t resist the temptation, you must keep antibiotics and its kind, ready.
7: FIDL – FUN IN DAYLIGHT!
Thinking about the relentless sunlight and scorching heat during the day, we think of spending the day indoors during summers. That means we spend all day indoors doing nothing but watching that idiot box or facebooking! For god sakes! Summer is a time to enjoy and enjoy we will. I know of some ways to challenge the hot, hot days too. Organize or get invited to a pool party! Nothing is better than this. Oh wait! There is something equally incredible – a rain dance party! Spend the day at water theme park with your friends. Go on a planned or an unplanned road trip to the cooler countryside. Rent a guesthouse there and have a daytime party! If you are a not a party person, you could do some subtler stuff too. Plan a picnic with your loved ones. Choose a shaded place like under the spreading canopies of trees, lay your picnic mats, bring out the homemade food and enjoy with family, friends or that special someone. Also, you can explore some forgotten monuments in your city or plan a trip to the more famous ones. Don’t forget to carry the portable coolers with you to cool your drinks for the party (wink).
6: ROMANTIQUE SOIREES!
Summer evenings can either be quiet or loud. Make reservations for a lake-side or pool-side restaurant to enjoy a tasteful dinner with your loved ones. These restaurants have been witness to many ring-at-the-bottom-of-the-wine-glass kind of affairs. If you love to enjoy looking up at the sky to thank god for the food you eat, reserve your tables at the outdoor seating. Find the best place to gaze at the stars, lying beside your beloved and plan your future. Ah! Summer love (sigh). And if you are an astronomy enthusiast, look up the constellations that show up in summer in our hemisphere. If you like it loud, clubs and discotheques are open till late and since its ‘hot’ season, you can wear anything you like!
5: LIBROS A.K.A. BOOKS!
Jeanette Walls very rightly said, “One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” Any list of ways to prepare for the summer is incomplete without books to read. Stock up on novels to read before going to bed or while travelling or if you decide to spend the day in. Become a member of your nearest library and read short stories, poetry, drama or novella; whatever that captures your imagination. Sit in a park or garden in the fresh air and relish your book. You might meet your prince charming behind a bookshelf or in the garden. Novels by Nicholas Sparks are mainly based on summer love. Love is in “the summer air” as sung by Taylor Swift in ‘Love Story’.
4: ASPIRE TO PERSPIRE!
I believe that summers and short clothes go hand in hand! And I personally think that in order to feel and look good in shorts, even shorter shorts and crop-tops and what-nots, you must be in good shape, irrespective of your gender. Summer is the best time to work out! As the sun rises early and sets late, you get plenty of time to go for a morning and evening jog or walk. Hit the gym and sweat out those extra calories. Join a sports coaching class like basketball, football and other games which are an overall workout for the body. Or simply step out of your house in the evening and play a match of badminton or tennis with your neighbors. Set your aim to get into shape and you will!
3: CCD – CLOTHES, COSMETICS AND DIGITIZING!
Commencing with the first ‘C’, wear light coloured clothes. Kellie Elmore spoke from experience when she said, “some of the best memories are made in flip-flops!” Footwear should be light and comfortable like sandals and flip-flops which do not allow sweat to accumulate between your toes. Accessories like hats and sunglasses are essential to protect oneself from the direct rays of the sun. If you don’t already have these things, I suggest you buy them before the summer waves hit. Going onto the next ‘C’, purchase a sunscreen with suitable SPF for you. And because of the hot-sticky weather, buy a water resistant sunscreen. Use powder and deodorants for the sweaty odour you might effuse. Buy a good face wash which will soap away all the oil and dust that gets deposited on your skin. Apply roll-ons to stop the sweat from releasing at your body’s most perspiring spots. The ‘D’ is simple – add summer/party songs to your i-pod, laptop, cell phone etc to enjoy the engaging summer songs. Groove to songs like ‘California girls’ by Katy Perry which depict a classic summer day at the beach.
2: FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
The 2nd most important thing in my list is what to eat and drink. Lookout for the juiciest and yummiest fruits in summer! Mangoes, all kinds of melons and berries, papaya, kiwi etc are some of my personal favorites. If you do not like to consume raw fruits, make custard and experiment with fruit cream by using different kinds of fruits in it. You can also make shakes and juices out of them. Delicious can also be nutritious! These seasonal fruits are not only toothsome but are enriched with vitamin C which protects against the sun. Some desi Indian beverages for having a cool, cool summer are lemonade, lassi, jal-jeera, chhaas, banta, thandai, aam panha, badam milk, roohafza and gulab-ka-sharbat. Curd and yoghurt are good for the stomach during loo (hot wind) season. If you are into adult beverages, chilled beer or breezers are the two best alcoholic drinks in this season. But the Best Drink Award goes to H2O! Stay hydrated during summers. That is the key to being healthy this aestival season.
1: PREPARE YOURSELF TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
Lie in bed a minute longer to thank god for creating this beguiling season – the season of waking up; the season when winter’s spell of sleep is lifted up from all the living beings around you. Keep your eyes closed and listen to the birds chirping outside your window. Open your eyes to see the golden light creeping in through the curtains. Draw your curtains to admire the shimmering light through the leaves of trees in the wind. Open your window to feel the warm breeze on your cheeks. Listen to the leaves rustling in the wind, whispering untold secrets to one another. Discover the music in the buzzing of the bees and melodious songs of the birds! Breathe in the fresh air and the tantalizing aroma of the lovely flowers while treading lightly on the lush green, silky grass wet with dew drops in the early hours of a summer day. Pluck a ripe fruit right from a tree and bite into its succulent body. Rejoice the season of procreation of flowers, insects, animals and humans. Prepare to be swept off your feet by the alluring and inviting season of summer. Welcome Summer with your warmest embrace!