Renuka sure caught me by surprise by calling me at 10:00PM last Saturday night. Actually I should not use the word night…that's relevant in India…but not here! Saturday evening would be more appropriate. They were out on a walk and quite close to my house and wanted to know if I would like to join them.
Obviously yours truly wouldn’t refuse and within 5 minutes I was on the road. It was nice and bright and the sun was at the same level as around 5:00 PM on a Summer afternoon in India.
I thought it was quite late and we would probably walk for around 10 mins and then return. But they seemed to have something else in mind. So we walked from my house towards Meritulli harbour, but not using the usual route from the main road. But some convoluted route from behind my house through some nice green area…full of the famous Finnish mosquitoes!
Yes…mosquitoes …sounds a bit odd. But it is true. The are zillions of mosquitoes here. Initially in March when someone mentioned mosquitoes in the coffee area in office, I thought they all were just pulling our legs…teasing us about the mosquitoes in India and joking around. Specially so because of the way he went on about how big the mosquitoes are. I couldn't believe him. But I guess not. In fact Shriram, an Indian friend I made here described it beautifully - ‘if you don't use mosquito repellent, they can carry you all the way from Tornio to Rovaniemi!!!’ But the nice thing is…they seem to like the outdoors only, and even though I leave my balcony windows and door open, they don’t enter the house. And more importantly you don't need to fear Malaria, Chikungunya…they are quite harmless.
By the time we reached the City Centre it was 11:30 PM and was the city alive? All these months I have never been out so late and till around 7:00-8:00 PM, the market can be quite dull and normal. In fact I had thought that the Finns aren't fond of Pubs the way they are in UK. The scene in the market square at 11:30 PM was what I had often seen in London when I left at 5:00 PM from office. Everyone hanging out on the roadside bars and cafes enjoying their drinks. I guess the late sun here makes the people start their evenings much much later!!
We just hung around at Renuka’s place till 00:30 (I like writing it like that…seems to give more emphasis on the time!) and then went down again so that we could walk back to my place. You would think that by now the city would have quietened up a bit and maybe darkened up. Well..no. They were still as many people in the market place and they don't lie when they say you can sit on the roadside and read a newspaper without any street lights at midnight here in Summer!!! It is absolutely TRUE.