Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monsoon care

Frankly, this much amount of rain can drive anyone up the wall.

The landlady did not get the plastering on one external wall done properly, so mini splotches of water greet me every time I lie down on my bed and stare at my ceiling. Other than that, the terrace wall is overrun with moss, nothing - clothes, hair, skin, temper - dries up at all during the day, there is a damp smell all over the house, like socks in the wash, and basically, the weather is vile.

Plus, the flies. Sigh. The worst part of monsoons is keeping all surfaces clean and dry so that flies and mosquitoes don't settle.

Mumbai has the worst mutations of malaria this year, as also dengue and other mosquito-related ailments, so if you're in this part of the world, do yourselves a favour and discard all water in buckets and flower pots. Even one day of water sitting untouched is enough to start a breeding ground. While indoors, light a good vapourising insecticide or spray some bug spray every evening, when mosquitoes descend in droves, or if you're allergic to these, close the doors and windows, keep the fan on full and spray yourself with mosquito creams. After about ten minutes, the mosquitoes will be frantic to get out, which is when you crack the windows open.

Flies, unfortunately, are hardier than that, and they're more interested in food spillages than human skin, unless you've been dripping food all over your front again. However boring it is, wipe all spillages before they dry, and every morning, give such surfaces as washing sinks, gas stoves, tiles near washbasins and sinks and above cooking surfaces, washbasins and faucets and other wet areas entailing drains, a thorough fungicidal spray. I find the Mr Muscle kitchen spray works best for this purpose - leave it on for a while before wiping off. The sprays are irritating to flies and clean surfaces will not be too interesting to them to begin with.

Of course, you know all about keeping your food covered.

If clothes don't try up despite three straight days of drying on the line, you may have to move your clothes-stand under the fan or if you have a steamer, you can steam your clothes dry, though this is very cumbersome. However, steaming will reduce any resident bacteria in the clothes, especially surfaces recently washed for mud stains, so you could try it one article at a time. Ironing damp clothes is not such a good idea because I find the colour fades in the process, though why this happens is something I have not yet discovered.

Keep a bowl of neem or tulsi leaves submerged in clean water on dining tables. Change the water every morning. This discourages flies from settling.

Invest in a mosquito/ fly killing bat.

Do not leave dead flies, cockroaches and other pests lying around because ants will converge.

Plants may die if you let excess rain water sit on the soil. Drain periodically.

Use air fresheners around the house, and especially the bathroom and toilet to get rid of smells.

Footwear must be washed every single night. Leave to dry overnight.

Invest in a good floor cleaner. Mop the floors every day when activity is less. Preferably allow to dry under ceiling fans and try not to walk on the floor when it is wet to avoid contamination.

Heavy advertising notwithstanding, Surf Excel is really effective in getting rid of stains. Try it on muck.

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