I am back in Chennai after nearly 20 years of living abroad. I landed right in the summer, when the weather is most dreadful in this city. It is the period of the reign of Agni Nakshatram, which is that time of the year when the sun passes through the Krithika (Krittika) Nakshatra. To put it in simple words, life is a torture, a struggle, in May in Chennai’s scorching heat.
It is a struggle to walk down to a nearby bank to attend to one’s banking needs.
It is a struggle to go to the nearby post office to do the required work.
It is a struggle to get one’s house painted.
It is a struggle to wait indefinitely for the technicians (who are perennially late) to come and attend to repairs on home electronics and appliances.
It is a struggle to ride on a two-wheeler in the heavy morning traffic to attend to important work.
One can go on and on. To put it in a nutshell, life is a struggle during these hot summer days. Chennai is at its meanest in May.
But in the midst of all this struggle and chaos, we found one major positive factor. No matter where we went for our purchases, we realised we now have the luxury of paying through the QR code—the great Indian payment comfort. It is the new cashless system of payment. Even the chai wala, or tender coconut vendor, on the roadside accepts this payment method. It is the UPI (Unique Payment Interface), where you just scan the QR code and make the payment. This is India’s payment revolution. It is India’s impressive, instant, real-time payment system.
With UPI, users can make payments using their mobile phones without the need for cash, credit or debit cards, or net banking. The success of UPI has helped promote digital payments and financial inclusion in our country.
We now move around without a penny in our pockets.
Every day is a day of surprises.
To add to this ease of purchasing is the convenience of online shopping. It is such a blessing during these dog days. There are apps through which one can buy
milk and other dairy products; groceries, fruits, and vegetables on a regular or as-needed basis.
It is so good to be able to get everything that we need from the comfort of our home. Let the sun shine bright; we stay home, getting everything at our doorstep.
Our daily needs are thus taken care of. What more can one ask for?
Not just the above man-made comforts; nature too has played a wonderful, gorgeous role in the midst of this rogue summer. Yes, I found solace in the floral splendour of Chennai.
I had never observed or seen before such beautiful floral trees in full bloom in my city. Summer is the blooming season… (and I never travelled to Chennai in the summer during these last 20 years!) Early morning walks opened up the floral display at its best in my neighbourhood. I could see sections of the road covered with a bountiful shower of bright yellow flowers. I could see car tops carpeted with flowers fallen from tree tops. There was natural beauty all around.
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them” (Henri Matisse).
They are the colours of happiness and joy.
Beautiful cherry blossoms.
The white and deep maroon Bougainvillaeas
The Yellow Flame Flower is also known as the Golden Cassia Tree.
Canon ball flowers.
And the few Gulmohar flowers—the flame of the forest
All in my neighbourhood
What a wonderful sight to behold!
Bright, sunny days come with nature’s bounty.
Come on, Chennai, do you think you can torture us with your scorching heat? No way. We’ve found beautiful ways to deal with you.