Moods of Summer: Sublime and Ugly

Sunil Sharma

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

--- F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Wish things were that romantic!
Summer comes with its own challenges these days.

It ignites nostalgia for the early childhood summers that were not that harsh and blistering as they are now!

Summers that announced the end of bitter winters and arrival of sunny days and warm winds, golden mangoes and seasonal vegetables; of long warm nights and nightly walks along the lanes and by-lanes of towns and cities, running into old high-school friends out for a leisurely mid-night stroll.

Summers when the Gulmohars turned new Delhi and other parts into an open-air studio of colourful palettes and live paintings.

Long nights and days. Lazy afternoons in the shade of a tree, reading comics. Holidays that stretched into weeks of no-school and no-homework, respite from the humdrum of the routine, a break from books…and escape into make-believe worlds where kids reclaimed lost autonomy and old kingdoms, away from the prying eyes of adults.

Summers were pure joy.

And our theme of the month of May.


The Special Section carries some select responses to a limited open call given for this month: Winds of Summer.

 

Sadly, things have changed drastically in the second decade of the New Millennium.

Summers have become awfully discomforting!

 

With the alarming rise in temperatures, of late, and climate change a grim reality, summers have increasingly become hot, humid, sweaty and fatal.

Delhi, the capital city of India, registered 52.3 degree celsius on May 29th! You can imagine the distress of living in an inferno on a daily basis.

 

Summers are horrible!

Entire north India was reeling under extreme heat waves and red alerts in May. With hot and dry winds hitting you in the face from morning onwards, and houses and cities baking under an unforgiving and harsh sun, with tree cover cut down drastically for the so-called rapid urbanisation, living conditions have worsened, more so for those who work outdoors and have no relief from the scalding heat in a bleak concrete jungle!

 

Yet, early summer brings its own joy and liberation from severe winter.

Winds of summer that can bring change in few minutes---from early breeze to strong gales that deliver rains and respite.

Winds that can be gentle as the light kiss on the fevered cheeks of a migrant...or as ferocious as a summer storm.

 

The aim of the open calls is to engage with the community's creative psyche.

Summer can be a season of discontent or content. Like every season, it teaches us valuable lessons of living and co-existing with other species, accept and adapt to changes in a meaningful and productive ways.

 

Some interesting responses are showcased in this section. Responses that celebrate the beauty---and ugliness---of summer as a hot and dry season and has got its own charms.

The other sections carry equally fascinating content!

 

Please enjoy winds of summer and more!

Sunil Sharma

Managing Editor, Setu (English)

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