Indian heatwave

I hear that the teaming masses of India are rioting because of the hot weather. Someone should tell them that rioting only makes you hotter. Far better to relax beneath the shade of a leafy tree while being fanned by your personal attendant. Who could ever forget those leg-stretching lyrics sung by the sultry Ursula Andress?

Underneath the mango tree

Me honey and me

Dah dah dah dah doo

Female gorillas are not cut out to be fanners, so I usually hire a chimpanzee to pull the punkah. One must do one’s bit to create jobs and discourage idle hands from mischievous deeds. How do I occupy myself while being fanned? If I’m in the mood, I toot out melodies on my recorder while shaking a pair of maracas with my feet. We gorillas are well-equipped to be solo artists.

It seems that the Indians are furious about being subjected to lengthy power cuts. There simply isn’t enough wattage to keep the burgeoning number of electric fans whirring for 24 hours a day. That’s what happens in a booming emerging economy – people who once made do with the odd gust of breeze now expect to have non-stop ventilation. Enraged householders have stripped to their underwear and taken to the streets, abusing and harassing local officials. It’s a tactic that’s causing much commotion, given that the sight of Indian men in their chuddies has been known to spook elephants. One gets the impression that very few of the protesters are women in bra and panties.

I learned in my circus days how humans can lash out unpredictably when the temperature gets too high. I remember a blazing afternoon in Mexico City before an evening show. It was hotter than the Devil’s kitchen. I saw a dog pass water on the hubcap of a motor car, only to scamper away in panic when its piss sizzled and gave off steam. While the other performers rehearsed inside the big tent, I sat in a deckchair outside, wearing a sombrero and reading back issues of Josie and the Pussycats.

Presently, the ringmaster stormed out of the tent and addressed me angrily.

“Where’s my haemorrhoid cream?” he thundered.

“Your what?” I replied, barely suppressing a grin.

“Don’t play dumb with me, you big hairy ape! I checked the seat of your bicycle and it was greasy!”

“My dear Ringmaster, that’s just palm oil to prevent the hot plastic sticking to my bum. I assure you I have no need of your unguents.”

“I want to search your trailer!”

“Be my guest, Ringmaster. After you have done so, I suggest you make enquiries with the clowns. I saw them applying an odd-looking lotion to their chapped lips. You must take more care where you leave your medications.”

He stomped off muttering and harumping. “There goes an angry, red-faced man,” I thought.

Let us pray that India boosts her output to meet the growing demand. It will take a while for new facilities to be put in place, so interim measures are urgently required. Here are my suggestions:

(i) organise free bus tours to the Himalayan foothills for the ringleaders, to cool them down and make them giddy in the thin atmosphere;

(ii) use crop-spraying aircraft to deposit a fine mist of opiates over the rioters, so their wrath gives way to drowsy contentment;

(iii) instruct officials connected with the power industry to wear false noses and wigs, to make them a focus of ridicule rather than rage.

Sound social policy is the only remedy for civil disorder.

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