Let me start by saying that I’m definitely a hot weather person. If there is one thing I’ve never, ever missed since I left New York, it is the cold and winter. Winter makes me depressed. It took me years to realize that I suffered from what is now recognized as seasonal affective disorder. But the Hyderabadi summer is something else.
The weather in Hyderabad is usually very pleasant from September until February. Then, temperatures start rising until they reach their peak in the last weeks preceding the Monsoon, which begins usually around the first or second week of June. Believe me, by that time, we’re all desperately waiting for it. Uma Krishnaswami‘s picture book, Monsoon, describes it beautifully.
Soooo, we’ve now entered the hottest month of the year. I just checked, and at 7.10 am, this morning, it was already 28 degrees Celsius, which is 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This past week, we’ve had temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees F.)
What this means, practically… When I open the door of my air-conditioned bedroom in the morning (I know, I’m lucky that we have A/C in some rooms, in our house. I can’t even begin to imagine how people living without it manage to survive) I’m met with a rush of oven hot air. The floors are hot under our bare feet. The water that comes from the cold water faucet is hot ! Not quite burning hot, but close. I’m not kidding. It’s the only time of the year when we can wash our dishes with hot water – which is fine. But here you are, dreaming of a cool shower, only, there is no cool water to come out, unless you let it run for quite a while, and even then, it will still be tepid to warm. The moisturizing cream that comes out of the tube is warm. Even the doorknobs are warm!
No wonder schools in India close for the year between mid-April and early June, and people who can escape to the hills (the British used to do that, too, of course). For those, like us, who follow the Western school calendar, there is no choice but to grin and bear it as graciously as we possibly can.
Thank goodness for air coolers. I’d never seen or heard of them before,
even though they’re apparently used in dry places in the US. It’s really a – beware, pun coming – cool machine. Not the pretties thing around, as you can see.
And really very noisy, too. But as the volumes in our house make it impossible to air condition it totally (electricity bills already triple during the summer months), we’re happy to put up with the noise.
So, you now know where to find us, at this time of year. Sprawled in front of the air cooler…