INDIA: Indian Summer

Mothers smeared their children with mud, and men swathed themselves in wet towels. Tar oozed in the streets; ink dried between well and paper. Clerks stayed overtime in their offices, where they could flake out beneath the big black ceiling fans; mounted police began their patrols early, when there was still a sliver of shade. In India last week not even mad dogs or Englishmen went out in the midday sun.

It was not the humidity; it was the heat—the searing, scorching, scalding heat of an Indian summer. Unforgettable in any year, the hot spell of 1958 was worse than...

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