… only in ‘Incredible India’…
I’ve been meaning to share this little gem, entitled ‘High Cool’ with you for ages, just because it always makes me smile when I see it. But you know how it is, things come up, the weather changes and before you know it, despite your best intentions, you’ve forgotten all about it.
Anyway, I was going through some old photographs the other day, in response to my good friend Robbie’s recent experiences with a possessed toy hippopotamus called George, in Northern Thailand (more about that in the future), when I stumbled upon the photo in question and it all came flooding back to me.
It was some years ago now and I was staying in Northern India, in the State of Haryana to be precise, doing some animal welfare work at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), in Karnal. My gracious hosts at the NDRI had put me up in the accommodation usually reserved for visiting dignitaries and senior academics (I was neither of those, by the way), a purpose-built complex complete with sculpted and meticulously maintained gardens.
If I recall correctly, it was round about April or May, the time when India reaches its peak in terms of ridiculous temperatures and it was hot. And I do mean hot. Forget sweltering in the high twenties and thirties (Celsius). We’re talking about trying to survive in the high forties here. The kind of temperatures that don’t just melt your ice cream, they turn it into Baked Alaska and then incinerate it in front of your face. And it was a blisteringly dry heat too. Everywhere you went it felt like you were trapped in an oven and it didn’t matter how much water or iced tea you drank, or how long you kept your head in the fridge, as soon as you moved, you wished that you hadn’t.
Needless to say, I spent as much of my downtime as I could in my room, doing my best to shelter from the merciless sun outside, curtains tightly closed and air-conditioning running at full blast. And it was the air-con that is the star of this blog. For you see, I had a very unusual air-conditioning unit. Not content with the usual labelling of ‘low, medium or high’ or ‘1, 2 and 3’, the air-conditioner in my room had a very special set of options, offering a choice including: ‘Super Quiet’, ‘Super Cool’ and my favourite setting, ‘High Cool’.
Now you may wonder why I am making such a fuss of a setting called ‘High Cool’. Well, the reason is this and it probably says more about my twisted sense of humour than any psychiatrist’s report ever could: ‘High Cool’ was the name of a song on the album ‘Leisure’ by British Britpop band, Blur, way back in the early 1990’s.
It was probably just a case of mild heatstroke that was addling my thinking at the time, but I couldn’t help but imagine that by some strange twist of fate, that very air-conditioner or one just like it, had somehow influenced Blur’s choice of title for the song. And if by any chance, Damon Albarn or Alex James are reading this, then maybe they can put me right on the matter at firstname.lastname@example.org
As for me, while I suspect that most people who stayed in that room automatically put the air-conditioning on to ‘Super Cool’, for me ‘High Cool’ was the setting where it was at!
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