Arriving back into the campus in Kanpur, I had to cross a river to get to my apartment. Apparently the rains had arrived.
Even though the temperature had dropped (very slightly), humidity had crept in so that I was constantly covered in a layer of moisture. We were not allowed air conditioning in my building since the electrics weren’t set up to be able to deal with such a heavy drain on the power, so sleeping became a distant memory. To make matters worse, a plethora of creatures seemed to condense out of the moisture and fly across my room. I often found small ants crawling up my arms and legs, I found almost invisible white creatures wriggling across my book, brown fleas attached to my ankles, cockroaches running over my feet and lizards slithering across the walls (I liked theses guys because hopefully they were eating the rest). Meal times became a constant battle with heat flies.
My travel to Bangalore was spent praying that my bottom wouldn’t erupt, and the first few days of the summer school followed in a similar manner, with me positioned close to the lecture theatre door…
During this summer school I experienced my first real mood drop since being in India. Micha had just left, it was raining, cold, and I was to be confined to an institute in the middle of nowhere, 20km from the city, comprising of grey buildings, under a grey sky, with nothing around, and whose perimeter I could traverse in less than 5 minutes. It may also have been caused by residual effects of the stomach bug, or the fact that we had to share rooms, and being a light sleeper this meant my sleep was even more disturbed than usual. Just to add salt to the wound, the Brexit news came out, and my country appeared to be in disarray, with no prime minister and the political parties fighting amongst themselves. My Indian colleagues seem more concerned about the football result.
The same day I bid farewell to mum at Delhi airport, I later returned to greet Micha who had flown out to ‘patch up’ some holes forming in our relationship.
After a few days acclimatisation in fancy air-conditioned hotels (with pools!) in Delhi we made the move to Kanpur and the task of surviving the now 40 degree heat in my un-air-conditioned room. Micha spent a large proportion of the following few days sprawled like a lizard panting in the corner, only getting up to pour water on the floor at regular intervals – his attempt at cooling the place down.
After a week of this routine I decided I needed to move Micha out of this environment before he melted into my mattress. We escaped to Lucknow from where I had a devised a plan to travel “5 hours” (said google maps) to the Nepalese border, cross, and visit Bardia National Park in Nepal for the weekend.