February 25, 2009
Summers in Jaipur are tough. It’s 50C outside, night and day. The water is never cold and the electricity cuts, frequent.
There aren’t many good sides to it.
Mangoes are. I look forward to the summer to gorge on them. Forget the sweltering heat: give me a case of ripe Alphonso mangoes and I’ll die in peace.
The other good side of summer is the pool.
There are a couple of hotels in Jaipur that let you use their pool for a fee, usually around Rs 150.
There are social pools, where backpacking trustafarians come work on their third-world tan. There are dirty ones, where nobody goes. There are expensive ones, full of old people. And there is the under-the-radar pool, where I go with my fellow expat girls. Really not glam, but really chilled.
We spend the day there, sipping beers, munching on pakoras, lying in the pool, chasing the shade.
In the summer I also go early in the morning, to do laps.
The staff there is used to foreigners and the sight of girls in bikinis certainly doesn’t cause any eyelid to bat.
However, last year, I ran out of luck.
I noticed a new sweeper by the pool one morning. He was staring at me rather insistently. Rather. Indian men stare, but hey, this one was eye-raping me.
He had stopped sweeping and holding his broom like it was his pride and vigor, he was just drooling. I didn’t care much, because I was swimming, but I thought I’d tell the guys at the front desk.
When I finished my laps, I quickly went to the changing room. He had resumed sweeping by then and I could hear the monotonous rustle of his broom against the leaves. Then the rustle stopped. I frowned. I knew what he was up to. Having anticipated some weird behavior, I had got dressed in 10 seconds. Thank God.
I looked up.
Above the dividing wall.
There popped his hideous head.
I yelled at him. I was choking with rage.
I should have gone to the men’s room and slapped him hard.But you never know what could have happened. What if he likes girls slapping him? Some men do, I hear.
Instead, I ran to the front desk and threw the tantrum of the year. I shouted and cried and summoned every single member of staff. They didn’t seem the least concerned. They waggled their head. They promised to tell him off. But they did nothing.
To this day, my fury hasn’t totally faded.
Maybe it was the summer heat.