Delhiwale: Voices from 40 plus degrees | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhiwale: Voices from 40 plus degrees

May 23, 2024 04:12 PM IST

Despite the scorching heatwave, many citizens continue working outdoors, finding ways to cope, from drinking sherbet to seeking shade.

Amid the ongoing heatwave-like conditions, thousands of our fellow citizens lack the choice of sheltering themselves from the dangerous afternoon sun. They are obliged to carry on with their outdoorsy profession, and persist with it even during the hottest hours of the extremely hot day. A few of the citizens give a fleeting sense of their daytime life.

A street vendor and his customer converse during the punishing heat. (HT photo)
A street vendor and his customer converse during the punishing heat. (HT photo)

Arif, kakri seller: “I like extreme heat, they increase my sales.”

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Virendra, construction labourer specialising in stonework: “Kaam to karna hee parega (one must keep working), but I regularly cool myself with the sherbet that I make daily (see right photo).”

Jaipal, autorickshaw driver: “It gets so hot between 12pm and two that my organs start to sizzle, but I have to be on the road… I try to be careful, drinking half-litre cold water after every half-hour.”

Farukh, pavement tailor: “I have to manage my children’s school fees, and my household expenses. So I continue to work on this pavement, this is the spot known to my regular customers. The silai machine gets burning hot as well… it cools down only in the evening.”

Sameer, kharbooja vendor: “Aag aag ko marti hain (fire beats fire). So I frequently drink garma-garam chai. But cold drinks are no good. My body heats up minutes after having a cola bottle.”

Jamal, daily wage labourer: “I have to be stationed here at Labour Chowk throughout the day to receive work (from contractors). It is very hot today, and yesterday was even hotter, but I was on this same spot as always, waiting for assignments I frequently walk to the mandir over there—it has free drinking water cooler for the public.”

Ravi, hawker of plastic tiaras: “I cannot let the weather pause my life. I have to sell every single day.”

Ghulam Muhammed, Rafi, Nisaar, Shabeer, Abdur Rahman--labourers who jointly haul goods on carts: “Upar wale ka saath hain (God is with us). Besides, our customers always give us cold water to drink.”

Suresh, phalsa seller (see left photo): “Kya kare, mazboori (what to do, it is helplessness).”

Chhote, mango seller: (He responds with a weary shrug, and stays silent).

Pappu, watermelon seller: “These days I spend the midday hours sleeping under a tree, and set up the fruit stall only at four in the evening when the direct sun is gone.”

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