India diary: dripping in delhi


It’s the first thing that greeted us at the airport and it’s the first thing that needs be mentioned. I managed to have a brief conversation with one local man on Delhi’s (surprisingly punctual) Metro and he mentioned that Delhi gets the extremes of India’s weather. So on top of dealing with the regular summer heat when we arrived, we were actually dealing with a Delhi heat wave. The temperatures over the last two weeks nearly hit 50 degrees. It had the locals sweating. It had us dizzy. The team have now been in a very comfortable apartment quite close to our school for about two days, but before this things weren’t quite as comfy. I’d love to elaborate more but basically electricity and water and sewage were giving us problems. Actually they weren’t giving us anything at all. Go figure. Anyways here s 12 examples of how hot it’s been:

1. Sleeping with no air conditioning or fans resulted in a 4am pillow-fanning circles. By this stage clothes were very much a hindrance and are entirely optional. There’s an image for you.

2. Cold showers are great. The water (which is stored in a dark container on the scorching hot roof) would roughly equate to a hot shower at home. The showers tended not to work so we regularly bought our showers, one litre at a time from the water stall down the road.

3. One of the kids at school literally burned their little backside from sitting on a step.

4. When the showers did work you would wonder why it’s so hard to get dry afterwards since it’s so hot. But the line between drying off and starting a new layer of sweat becomes blurry.

5. ATMs are in security guarded little rooms on the side of the street. These little rooms also tend to have air conditioning so you end up checking your balance quite regularly.

6. Power cuts are a big thing here and before we were graced with a back-up generator there were the horrible heat-panics. Basically you wake up in the night and you look like you’ve been dipped in a vat of clear treacle. You fear that you may never be cool again.

7. It’s been a few weeks now since we’ve been in a climate that’s cooler than actual body temperature and at almost half way to boiling point it becomes a real fear that you may evaporate.

8. They love serving chai tea here. You wait for it to cool before drinking. It just doesn’t.

9. The ultimate prank to play on your fellow volunteer is to throw a duvet or the likes over them. Spooning will also suffice. Be warned this is also a method capable of killing them.

10. Shade is a competition fought between humans, dogs and cows. You can’t shoo the cows because they’re sacred and you can’t shoo the dogs because they’re scary.

The views expressed in Dan's diaries are his own personal observations of life in India and not the views of the organisation he is working with or his partner school.