Friday, 15 May 2009

Grumpy Night!

There was a long power cut last night, from about 6pm. The electricity stuttered on and off for a bit - for a while the voltage was enough to turn the ceiling fan very slowly but not enough to light the fluorescent strip lights. I measured the temperature at about 8pm - it was 33C! Don't know what the humidity was but it felt high. There are not many mosquitoes around at this time of year but enough to give me a few annoying bites on my ankles such that I scratch them til they're red raw. But the heat also gives me prickles on my back and they have to be scratched vigoroously too! They're usually inaccessible without a tool like a ruler or a spatula or a pen or a spoon or... well anything, really! They just have to be itched, and NOW!

So no power... no fans, no lights, no internet. My emergency lamp gave light for about 45mins before it gave out, then it was down to candles. Fortunately I had three but they were skinny ones and burned quickly. It all put me in a bad mood but I tried to remain calm by reading "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid - excellent! Then the girl from next door burst in and yelled, as she usually does, "can I come in??". I said "no" but she came in anyway. Then I had to say that when I say "no" I mean "no", and sent her away. Trouble is, I'm not very consistent with this ruling :-( I guess she just wanted something to do, and I was to be her amusement, but I was feeling an old grump!

At about 9:30 I went to bed, read a bit and then tried to get to sleep. But the neighbours were all sitting outside, chatting. In fact they don't so much chat as shout at each other, and at people passing the gates, and with people down the road. Noisy!

Then we had five minutes of rain! Amazing, I couldn't believe it - the first rain for months! Perhaps a portent of things to come - I have heard that the monsoon has already reached the Andaman Islands (a few thousand km East of here) and should arrive here early this year. We'll see. On average, if there's such a thing where weather is concerned, the monsoon comes around 1st June, which is probably why most schools go back then. Anyway, we had a little rain and I don't know if it was connected but mozzies started buzzing around my ears. I tried pulling a sheet over me but I was sweating so much that it soon became wet and I couldn't breathe. So it had to come off again and I lay there for a bit, swatting at things I couldn't see and getting annoyed. I lit the remaining bit of my last candle in the hope that the mozzies would fry on that, and lit one of those insecticide coil things - which only served to make the air even less breathable!

I struggled on in this way until 3am when the power returned and I was able to put the fan on MAX. Thank God! I managed to get off to sleep at last but was awake at 5:45am with the cocks crowing, goats bleating, people shouting, horns tooting. No temple music though!

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