ACs, ice and wet cloth: How Delhi citizens are surviving the heat | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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ACs, ice and wet cloth: How Delhi citizens are surviving the heat

Jun 20, 2024 06:06 AM IST

People are finding it difficult to get sleep due to an array of issues ranging from power cuts, ineffective coolers and hot walls and rooftops to boiling water in taps and spiking power bills due to increased appliance usage

With nighttime temperatures reaching an all-time high in Delhi, residents from across different socio-economic groups are finding it difficult to get sleep due to an array of issues ranging from power cuts, ineffective coolers and hot walls and rooftops to boiling water in taps and spiking power bills due to increased appliance usage.

Two women cover their heads to shield themselves from the heat in NCR. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
Two women cover their heads to shield themselves from the heat in NCR. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

HT interacted with citizens to learn how they are dealing with the unusually high temperature at night, besides already bearing the daytime brunt over the past month.

Pvt worker runs ACs all night

Smita Ahuja has four air-conditioners, all of which have all been running throughout the night in the past week. The 38-year-old, who works with a private firm, lives in a 3BHK flat in Dwarka with her husband and in-laws.

“My husband and I reach home around 6-7pm and all ACs are switched on around that time. Earlier, we used to switch them on in phases. We kept the ACs in the living room on till dinner and then, we would turn on the other ACs just before going to bed. Now, we just leave the room doors open and keep all our ACs running all night. I even need the AC to work in the kitchen at night,” said Ahuja.

She said that usually, the two ACs in both bedrooms sufficed, but in the past few days, nights have also been gruelling. The flat they bought because of “ample sunlight” it got during the day has proved to be a bane this summer.

Trader takes ice showers

Ashish Grover, who is in his late 50s, lives in an independent house in Malviya Nagar. Grover says that while he has no complaints about water supply or power cuts, his main issue is that tap water is boiling, even at night, which makes it almost impossible to take a shower.

“We live on the third floor and the water tanks are on top. The water gets so hot that it is boiling even at night. When it started getting hot initially, I would take a cool shower at night. Now, even that is not possible,” Grover said.

A trader at Chandni Chowk who is used to finding his way around problems in an affordable manner, Grover has now found a solution to his misery. “I now fill a fruit basket that has holes with ice and tie it to the shower. Then I take a relaxing shower every night. I just need to remind my wife to keep ice stocked at home,” Grover said.

Immigrant sweats on power bill

Hailing from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, 27-year-old Ravindra Kumar, came to the national capital five years ago in search of livelihood to support his family and currently, works as a mechanic, checking air pressure, repairing puncture points and cars at a petrol pump near the New Delhi railway station in 12-hour shifts.

The nights, at a rented accommodation in Old Delhi’s Himmatgarh that he shares with five other workers, have now become equally tough for him. “Every passing day feels warmer than the preceding one,” Kumar said.

He shares a room with five other workers. “Last month, we collected money to buy a common water cooler from Kamla Market, but now, even the cooler seems to have no impact,” he said.

Kumar said that he was equally worried about the electricity bill. “I barely make enough to send a few thousand rupees to my family back home. I don’t want the electricity bill to cut into my savings. We will now have a higher bill, that too for getting hot air from the cooler all night,” he said.

Auto driver uses wet cloth to keep cool

Dharmendra Sahu, a 32-year-old auto-rickshaw driver who lives near Ajmeri Gate in the Walled City, is facing a double whammy because of the sweltering heat: lack of sleep due to increasing night temperatures and lack of money due to passengers preferring air-conditioned cabs to auto-rickshaws.

“It is so hot that people prefer taking cabs, but I need to pay my fixed daily rental to the auto-rickshaw owner. Our working hours have increased, just to make enough money to sustain ourselves,” Sahu said.

Pointing at an orange cloth hanging around his neck, Sahu said that he keeps dipping the “gamcha” in water to keep his head cool.

“The roof radiates so much heat that it becomes impossible to even peacefully sleep outdoors. We sprinkle water for temporary relief, but it has been several days since I had a good sleep, and it seems like I have a headache all the time,” he said.

Sahu said that he has been in Delhi for over nine years, but he has never seen such a harsh summer. “I am thinking about returning home for a few days till monsoon arrives, if similar conditions continue,” he said.

Vendor takes home ice, buys 2nd cooler

Geeta Pal just bought a second cooler for her grandchildren as it was becoming impossible for them to spend the nights. In her late 50s, she works as a street vendor, selling water, cold drinks and snacks. Pal has a two-room accommodation in Sonia Vihar, where she lives along with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

“I take ice home from a vendor I buy from to keep water and other drinks cool. We use this ice in the cooler at night. But it has been so hot lately that we couldn’t survive with one cooler, so we bought another one just two days ago. Why else am I slogging in the heat all day if my grandchildren cannot sleep peacefully at night?” says Pal.

She said her only problem is a two-hour-long daily power cut that keeps the family awake at night.

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