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   Different people are combating the beat in different ways... (May 17, 1990)

Different people are combating the beat in different ways. For instance, my friend, who lives on the 21st floor and normally commutes from Gulmarg in the summer (which he has been unable to do this time), has installed several air-conditioners in his house.

This morning, when I called on him, I found him to be sitting in his breakfast room, which felt ti me to be cool and yet at the same time warm and comfortable. He explained to me: "I have installed the Swiss air-conditioner. It provides the weather of Switzerland combined with the central heating of a five-star Swiss hotel. So that though the weather is cold, the air is kept warm by the central heating. And don't open that window, otherwise you will get a blast of icy wind inside."

After he finished his breakfast, we repaired to the morning room. The room felt cold, wet and chilly. "This is typical English winter weather, very bracing," my friend said.

"A little too sharp," I said.

My friend turned a knob on the air-conditioner and suddenly the room became warm and sparkled like an English summer. In the background, I could almost see Gooch and Gower batting in a field of daffodils.

"It is too warm, last two years England has been having particularly warm summers," my friend said, conducting me to his reading room, where the morning papers from all over the world were lined up. I picked up the Vatican Observatoire to find out how the World Cup preparations were going on in Rome. I found the temperature to be a little puzzling, so I asked my friend what it was."

"The reading room is also known as the Indian room," he explained. "This air-conditioner here projects temperatures of all Indian cities. The temperature you are feeling now is of Banglore at the moment, if I turn the knob this way it is Madras, this is Kanpur. You don't want Kanpur, do you? Too much pollution."

"Amazing," I said.

"Yes," said my friend. "You can get the present temperatures of Kathmandu, Colombo and Karachi on this air-conditioner, baut not Islamabad. That is out of range."

We then went to the large indoor swimming pool. My friend said: "You have a choice, either Goa temperature of Riviera."

"Goa," I said.

Finally, after a swim, we went to his study. I found it to very warm and humid and I was sweating. "What air-conditioner is this?" I asked.

"The air-conditioner was broken down, what you are experience is Bombay weather," he said.

 
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