The climate of Madras [Chennai] has been described with considerable accuracy as three months hot and nine months hotter.
The modern version is “Here in Chennai we have three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest.” Cue for polite laughter.
I know it’s the hot season when I think I’m coming down with a fever. Then I realise it’s the weather.
I’ve been reading A. K. Ramanujan’s Poems of Love and War, about Tamil poetry of the Sangam period (c. 150 BC – 250 AD). These ancient poets divided the year into six seasons:
The rains (August-September), the cool season (October-November) the season of evening dew (December-January), the season of morning dew (February-March), early summer (April-May), and late summer (June-July).
In Sangam poetry, each season is associated with a landscape. The landscape of summer is the desert wasteland, or fertile land which has been burned by drought. The desert landscape is associated in the poetry with elopement, hardship, separation from lover or parents. Its time of day is midday. Its birds are the dove and the eagle. Its animals are the fatiqued elephant, tiger or wolf, and the lizard. Its trees are the toothbrush tree and the cactus. Its waters are stagnant waters, or waterless wells. The people of the desert landscape are wayfarers and bandits.
I think that about sums it up.