It’s getting hotter in here and it’s not your fault :P. I am not talking about global warming. I have started feeling the heat here in New Delhi as soon as the month of March began. The thought of Delhi in summer makes me sick. It’s like living in a frying pan. The only difference, perhaps, is that when a pan is put on fire the heat comes from only one side: down. In the heat of Delhi you receive heat from all directions. You sweat from head to toe. 37 degrees Celsius, usually the highest temperature in Kathmandu, comes as a great relief from the usual around 43-degrees in Delhi. I am saying this because I have experienced the Delhi heat. I have lived a full summer in Delhi. It’s a dreadful feeling. You have to sleep in a room with AC or fan running all the time. Sickness follows for two reasons: 1) the heat, 2) the frequent switching between the natural heat of the sun and the artificial cold of AC/fan.
Winter in Delhi is way better than the summer. The late February days are like heaven. The spring is the time when trees change their ‘clothes’ leaving roads beneath them beautifully covered by the colorful leaves. The cool breeze hits you as you move out. The best moments in Delhi are so short-lived. I can still experience this in the early hours of the day in some of the parks in Jangpura. But I can feel the moment is quickly fading towards the past. What awaits me is the sweating heat. Phew. The curfew.
May 2, 2009 In a terrible afternoon last week, as I was walking on a parched street and struggling with the heat wave, I realized something. Heat in Delhi comes as a curfew. Very few people were on the street that would otherwise be packed in normal circumstances. The street, I observed, remained vacated for about four hours in the afternoon beginning from around 12. People often get dehydrated and, in some extreme cases, die because of heat wave. So what do you do? The heat imposed curfew-like situation means you will have to stay indoors consuming energy via air conditioners and coolers. But that’s only when there is no loadshedding in your area. (Click here to continue reading this article that I wrote last year.)
While I anticipate the dreadful summer, I also recall a Delhi winter that wasn’t very cold, just warm.
January 31, 2009 The hottest news in Delhi is the absence of cold. “Who stole Delhi’s winter?” asked the Times of India the other day and went on to conclude that “winter has cheated Delhiites this season.”
It was widely reported in December that the month entered record books as the second warmest in 108 years. January — traditionally the coldest month in Delhi — too has been freakishly warm with as many as 20 days out of 28 having recorded above average minimum temperatures, wrote the paper. The average minimum temperature of the Indian capital for the first 28 days of January was 8.9 degrees celsius.
Before I came to Delhi almost three months ago people had warned me in Kathmandu about the extreme weather conditions in the Indian capital. “Flying crows fall on the ground in summer heat,” one well-wisher had cautioned me. “And people die because of cold. Delhi has a very different kind of cold: treacherous and dangerous.” (Click here to continue reading this article that I wrote last year.)