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It Was Over 40°C When I Met Those Working Non-Stop in the Searing Delhi Heat

Delhi is witnessing a harsh summer, with mercury breaching the 40°C mark daily.

My Report
3 min read

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Harpal Singh

Delhi is witnessing a harsh summer yet again, with mercury breaching the 40°C mark on a daily basis. On Friday, 13 May, the maximum temperature in the national capital crossed 46°C.

This made me wonder how people with outdoor-dependent livelihoods are faring? So, I decided to speak to some of them to understand how they are managing their work in the heat.

When I left my home in Delhi's Okhla at around 11 am on Friday, the weather app on my phone showed 37°C. In no time, it rose to 40°C as I was speaking to Sanjay Singh, a food delivery executive.


While having his lunch, Singh said,

"We have to do everything for our livelihood whether it's summers or winters. In this weather, I drink at least 10-12 bottles of water a day. I do carry a water bottle during travel and I fill the water wherever available. What can one do?"
Sanjay Singh, Food Delivery Executive

Near the food stall, where Sanjay Singh was having his lunch, I met a few domestic workers living in their shanties (Jhuggies). During my conversation with them, they told me that their shanties get heated up in this scorching heat and it gets impossible to sleep or even stay inside.

Sanjay Singh, a food delivery executive, going to deliver his order.

(Photo Credit: Mahira Gauhar)

"In this weather, we do feel a burning sensation in our stomachs. We neither have a refrigerator nor a cooler."
Marjina, Domestic Worker

Finding fruits and vegetable sellers on the road is not difficult at all. Suresh Prasad was one of them, selling vegetables under the Delhi Metro flyover.

"We try to stand in the shade to avoid the sun and drink lemon water. It helps a bit in keeping our stomach cool for some time. But the problem is that the leftover vegetables perish easily. So, we have to sell vegetables at a low price. There is definitely a loss."
Suresh Prasad, Vegetable Seller

While speaking to them, even I was feeling the heat and had to quickly grab my glass of Delhi's famous shikanji (lemonade).

But in conversation with them, I realised that a Rs 10-20 Shikanji is a luxury for many.

In Delhi's searing hot weather, shikanji gives a much-needed relief.

(Photo Credit: Mahira Gauhar)

"With each order, we earn Rs 20. For that, we have to wait at the restaurant, and if the client is not taking calls, we have to wait there also. Sometimes it takes 1-1.5 hours for an order. Just for Rs 20. What can we do? I can't afford to buy water or drink shikanji."
Sanjay Singh, Food Delivery Executive

Even Shareefuddin, a rickshaw puller, echoed the sentiments of Sanjay Singh.

Shareefuddin, the rickshaw puller, in Delhi's Okhla.

(Photo Credit: Mahira Gauhar)

"In this weather, even if we feel like drinking cool drinks, we are not able to afford them. We make do by drinking water. We don't have enough money to drink juices or cool drinks. We save the money we earn for our dinner and lunch."
Shareefuddin, Rickshaw Puller

India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts the return of heatwaves in the national capital and has issued alerts to people to be careful of the weather phenomenon. Meanwhile, Delhiites hope for a spell of rain to give them respite from the heat.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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