Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Under June Skies

Topiary. When you say that word in Tamil, you might be saying 'Throw your cap away.' Topi - erry! In that sense of the word, there's been a lot of 'topiary' in the twentieth century. I wonder why? With temperatures touching new highs every season, we need to keep our heads covered and cool.
If you wear a cap or a hat, you get funny looks. As a woman who wears a topi in the sun at all times, I've faced amusement, ridicule, cockiness and wisecracks, and I'm not exactly thick-skinned. In fact, it’s because of sensitive skin that I always wear protective head-gear. My brother in Delhi completely stopped wearing topis after a motorcyclist flicked one off his head when he was taking an evening walk.
A good alternative would be an umbrella, but the things you get these days are all made of synthetic material which compounds the heat. Instead of getting a little circle of cool shade, like what the black cloth umbrellas of old provided, you find yourself perspiring in a claustrophobic heat capsule. 
Now that the monsoon is here, we know it's going to rain at any time, and without any warning. No one in a tea garden is going to leave home without an umbrella. Rainy, sunny or cloudy skies, that umbrella is indispensable.

 Young Badal - his name means 'clouds'



Nor will the Englishman step out without his umbrella/brolley. And neither would I step out without my foldable umbrella, come rain or shine, when I walked to work.

And if you want to keep your hands free, there are little umbrellas, which you can fit over your head.

Maiji said...

'No one in a tea garden is going to leave home without an umbrella.' True.
In Kerala too, I mean in the state of Travancore in my young days, nobody young or old, rich or poor, man or woman, stepped out without an umbrella - it was the constant companion whether one went to school, office or anywhere else.
Can you imagine, in my school every classroom had an umbrella stand and there was never an incident of an umbrella being stolen.

Anonymous said...

That is why there is something called a topi-kodai (hat umbrella). Umbrella shade with hands free.

Anonymous said...

Who has been using my identity? Not me.


Arrey! Who is the cute little chap with the zinnia-coloured umbrella?

Maddy said...

that is a real ornate umbrella - wow somebody just yanked off the hat from his head?

Maddy said...

raji - the weather in england is sometimes like that, it can rain any minute in some places..hence the english penchant for the umbrella!!

Happy Kitten said...

And now we have more innovations in Umbrellas... the single, two, three folds... the one with neon(?) lights and akin to the Swiss Army knives.. you can do more with it than chase the rain. And come rainy season in Kerala the advertisements for umbrellas are the most competitive and so are the products.


The ads for umbrellas in Kerala are charming. Popy brand of umbrellas has produced an umbrella that folds up to a mere 16cm. And it is called - what but Popy Nano!

Gardenia said...

Thank you, Raji for the link - I remember being surprised, as an eleven year old, at the thickness of the raincoat you'd used in the UK - it was good enough for a winter coat in Delhi.
Maiji, too true - but even Kerala had more rains way back then! Twenty years ago, it would rain here for 21 days at a stretch.
Anonymous, 'Topi-kodai' sounds very cool, but I dont dare.
The cute little chap is most appropriately named 'Badal'. Maddy, yes, they just pinched it off his head.
Happy Kitten, I'd love to see some of those ads.
raji, Popy Nano is just too cute.

Maddy said...

yup - i saw the popy nana ad, we follow the asianet star singer if we can...in college we wore the broad 'ola' toppi kuda..seriously! all 5 years.

people make fun of me when on vacation in kerala since i carry an oldie 'kalan' kuda..the long one with the hook.

Tony Destroni said...

'No one in a tea garden is going to leave home without an umbrella.' True.! - nice one Maiji haha ! great! i hope you have a post about wind spinners or other garden and home accessories , im interested on this i hope you can help me . thank you!