We're having an Indian summer in Bangalore right now.
Summertime in India coincides with springtime in Silver Spring. But it's not summer in the traditional, American suburbia sense of the word. There are no children walking down to the community pool for swim team practice or families picnicking at the park. Summer camp doesn't involve painting pottery or taking ballet lessons; instead, kids don white pants and shirts to play cricket.
The streets are dusty, and temperatures regularly approach 40 degrees (Celsius, of course.) And the annual mosquito scourge has descended upon us. Striped mosquitoes, light mosquitoes, dark mosquitoes, exotic types that I thought couldn't possibly exist - all thrive in Bangalore, and during the summer, the air is thick with them.
We're approaching the middle of summer here, the equivalent of July in Maryland. Along with the scorching heat comes a benefit: mango season. Watermelons are on their way out now, but there are 10 different types of mangoes on display at the local grocery store. Stalls on the side of the street are piled high with fruit and seasonal flowers are in bloom (How do they do it? It hasn't rained for six months straight).
Local children cannot resist the fruits' allure. They run up to their elderly neighbors' homes and throw stones and boomerangs at branches in order to knock down mangoes. When they're caught in the act, they scamper hurriedly away from the scene of their crime, often leaving their possessions or shoes behind. They do not dare to come back to retrieve these items for a few weeks, knowing their offense will not have been forgotten.
The most popular roadside delicacy these days is sugarcane juice. A popular juice joint in town, Cane-ola (get it?) sells the sweet drink in five flavors, including a salty and a spicy version.
It's a magical time in Bangalore – but the living's not easy for all of us. Our school bus is the only one on the street every morning: Indian schools may have closed for the summer, but international school students, sadly, must wait until June for freedom.
Sonalee Rau. Sonalee (suh-NAH-lee) is a chipper Chipper and a would-be magnet junior. She spends a great deal of time playing tennis (Blair is red hot), doodling, reading, quoting famous people, quoting not-so-famous people and lamenting her inability to play the piano. She is also a big … More »