Sunday, 2 December 2007

"bara garm" at MAURIPUR

“It Ain`t Half Hot Mum” the 1970`s TV sit. com. of that name gave the impression that somebody`s sons were feeling the heat whilst in the process of trying to get their knees brown somewhere out there in the great Indian Sub Continent.

Most of us stationed at Mauripur, Karachi of course will probably have relished in the telling of our own personal tales and happenings that we encountered during our service there of over 50 years ago. Stories ranging from monsoon floods to fishy tales on a bunder boat, eating H bone steaks at the ABC Chinese Restaurant in Elphinstone Street or maybe just recalling some hell hot days on camp, one of which is well illustrated by this local press cutting. I`m uncertain as to whether I clipped this in May 1952 or May 1953 but either way it does pin down the weather detail that can be regarded as being a factual one.

As a general comment, I`m not sure either whether certain embellishments seemingly added sometimes in the retelling of various memories represent pure “bull” or, and more hopefully, can be just regarded as instances of the brain just subconsciously padding out some of the hazier bits in the memory.

Regarding what I think I do recollect surrounding the “Hottest ever day in May in Karachi”. I have always stated that I remember we were warned at sometime during that day, presumably by Tannoy, to drop whatever it was we were doing and sit or lay down to rest. Movement was to be curtailed where possible until otherwise notified. The reason being that on this day the extreme high air temperature coupled also to an exceptional high humidity factor had reached a serious danger level. I think the example given to me at the time was that by this unusual occurrence happening it had led to a definite health risk, the cause being the likelihood of us breathing in excess moisture by way of the water laden air. I would usually add in relating this happening “some of us could have drowned on dry land!”…and you see what I mean by embellishment?.

Many people who find themselves on the receiving end of this particular “lamp swinging” anecdote just refuse to believe it. Understandable perhaps as it does have a tall story ring about it. In a recent effort to perhaps establish some scientific data in support of my memory I have used a PC search facility. The subject being human health and its relationship to high temperature/high humidity. Unfortunately I can only come up with something referred to as “dewpoint temperature” but with no actual references or instances of how it could have affected us.

Someone else serving at that time will hopefully recall the events more fully than I and therefore maybe able to confirm that on this particular hot May day in Karachi it wasn`t a dream on my part, it did actually happen!.

(Joe Johnstone - reminisces)

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