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Cool and the gang

health and fitness Updated: Apr 28, 2009 21:14 IST

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It’s hot hot hot, but you may as well deal with it, as it promises to stay this way for at least a month, or may be more. So here’s Jerry Pinto on some tested and some funky ways to beat the heat…

You can't complain about the city getting hotter and then turn on your air-conditioner. Because there's a law of physics involved in heating and cooling, see? Your A/C has to take heat from your room and spit it out somewhere else, see? And it uses electricity, see? So turn it off now, and think of innovative ways of cooling off.

1. Gola sherbet
Go to your golawalla. When he has finished scraping the ice, stop him from spiking it with syrup. Take the gola and rub it all over your face. Then across your arms and along the decorous bits. Someone is sure to start staring at this point. Offer to rub him down too. At this point, he will laugh and walk away. Take the rest of the gola and drop it down his back. Now go back to the golawalla and have a gola and sherbet. Ask for lots of limbu.

2. Change your diet
This one you already know but you've been ignoring it for a long while. Drink lots of water. You’re sweating even when you're wet and when you're sweating, you stand the risk of getting dehydrated. Then you might fall over or faint and someone might steal your purse and charge a pair of Armani sunglasses to your credit card. Also eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Mangoes too, if you can get them. Don't worry about eating too many mangoes. You have to be rich as a Mittal to get a mango boil these days. (And to think these were common things in my youth.)

3. Head to the beach
Okay, so it's not possible every day of the month, but you can spend an evening on the sands of the beach nearest your house. You'll find that everyone's there at this time of the year and it's a party that doesn't get over until the wee hours. Kids are running around, dadi maa has her aching knees buried in the sand, young lovers are holding hands under the ends of a shiny dupatta, kulfi and bhel are being hawked, someone has sculpted Lord Shiva out of sand, there's a small merry-go-round…this is the stuff your nostalgia is made of. On the weekend, head to Aksa with some sandwiches, some oranges and some bottles of water.

PS: Why oranges? This year's local crop is small and sweet and sells at around Rs 2 per orange. That's two dozen oranges for Rs 50.

4. Have a water fight
Get into the bathroom. Choose an end. Arm yourself with a bucket. Splash water on each other. Scream. Hide a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator as a sneak attack when everyone thinks the fun is over. Come out laughing and tired and lie down on the tiled floor of your bedroom, turn on the fan and let yourself dry off that way.
To do this the expensive twenty first century way, there are water parks. Sure, there are.
There's a sucker born every minute.

5. Buy a watermelon
Watermelon is summer in a dark green jacket. Spend a little time looking at your kalingar before you slash into it. Look long enough and you can pretend it's a deep dark pool in a forest glade somewhere. When that image fades, stick it in the refrigerator for an hour or so and then cut and eat. Resist the temptation to do silly stuff like injecting it with vodka. If you must drink, drink. Don't mess a fruit up. And at Rs 25 per kg, a big watermelon will keep your family going for a good while.

6. Change your clothes
The designers of India would love it if there were seasons. They would be happy puppies if we had a summer and a spring and an autumn and a fall. Instead we have a hot season and a wet season. In the hot season, you shouldn't be wearing jeans. That's triple-spun cotton and it doesn't let your skin breathe much. (If you think about it, you shouldn't be wearing denim in the rainy season either; it never dries.) So this might be a good time to rethink your wardrobe. Chuck out everything that has any synthetic stuff in it. Head to Khadi Bhavan and buy lots of cotton.

7. Slow down a bit
One of the worst things about being hot is that you sweat, right? But you don't have to sweat as much if you're taking things at a slower pace. Try to wake up a little earlier, it's cooler and it's much more pleasant. Allocate more time for getting to places. Take the scenic route and stop to watch the flowers blooming on the trees and the veggies wilting in the roadside market.

8. Relish the warmth of your body

No, really. Think about it for a moment. Corpses are cold. You're not. You're alive. It’s summer.

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