This is my third summer in Bangalore and it’s by far the hottest. Summer had also come early this year. Temperatures had already reached the 30s in February and we still have a month to go before the monsoon arrives, bringing some respite to the heat. Temperatures have been topping 35 degrees every day. Sometimes it rains at night which brings some relief, but the heat comes back quickly. In North India, it’s far worse: Delhi reached a record temperature yesterday at 43.5 degrees while temperatures in Orissa have been as high as 47.
At the height of summer, daily life takes on a different rhythm. The day starts at dawn when the air is still cool. Indians are early risers; many are up by 5 or 6am when day is just breaking. This is when people like to take their morning walks, water the plants and do any household chores.
By 8 or 9 o’clock the heat starts to set in, peaking around midday. After lunch, many people like to take an afternoon nap. This is when I like to go to the shops if I need to pick anything up because they’re almost empty. The streets are also quieter at this time, with less traffic.
I often see auto-rickshaw drivers fast asleep in the back of their auto-rickshaws, strategically parked in a quiet shady street. White uniformed drivers also catch some sleep in their cars while they wait for their employers to summon them.
The street dogs spend most of their day curled up underneath cars, sleeping. The cats have also adopted this rhythm. They’re active in the early mornings. During the day they prefer to take shelter indoors or find a shady spot on the terrace and sleep until the evening when they like to roam outside until dawn.
After such a long, hot summer, the monsoon is eagerly awaited. In the meantime, we have another month of hot, sleepy afternoons.