Summer has arrived in Delhi. Now let me get something out of the way first. Summer in Delhi is not pretty. Its like that senile relative of yours that you have to bear in your home once in a while so you resign yourself to his or her presence. In fact, this year that summer has arrived late I have heard people wishing it never came.
But it is here, the sun bakes down the whole place, it seems the moisture from your very pores is being taken away. Delhi and its adjoining areas were earlier protected from the life-sucking winds of the desert of Rajasthan from the Aravalli range. But now that the battered and heavily mined Aravalli range doesn’t stand up that much its like the desert wind is coming straight at us.
Soon there will be stories of taps running dry, power cuts and fights over water in some poorer parts of Delhi while in the richer areas people will waste what water they have (yes, people are sick like that).
Now the lucky ones can disappear in their air-conditioned offices for most part of the day but its the ones who are not so lucky and have to roam the streets who have my pity. Sattu-drink stalls will soon pop up with those beach umbrella kind things on them, and so will roadside lemonade stalls with dubious water that the middle-class won’t even touch but I suspect they are the only relief to the poor who have no choice but to fight the baking sun.
However, this piece isn’t about class wars, its about Delhi’s summer so coming back to it, it has some unique shenanigans of its own. Schools are supposed to have summer vacations that they try to delay by at least mid-May but soon kids start fainting in the outdoor assemblies held every morning and the Delhi govt declares schools shut. I suspect a lot of the teachers too secretly laud that decision even though outwardly they crib about less teaching days to finish their syllabus.
Many people have ACs turned on by now, but you know what I prefer – indigenous ‘coolers’ as they are called. Its a rectangular device with walls padded with some kind of grass like thing and a pump and fan. It has to be filled with water and it cools down a room pretty well, what I like the most about it (apart from the cooling) is the earthy water-on-mud smell that comes with it. Needless to say it is a fail in humid areas, but a boon in the furnace like conditions Delhi will achieve in the coming months.
Now that it has been installed in my home too I can sit back and not lament it so much that summer has arrived in Delhi…