Wednesday, March 20, 2013

3 Sure Signs Summer Has Arrived

This will be my third summer in Hyderabad. While I am thankful to not have to deal with a mid-western Winter, an Indian Summer certainly presents some challenges. Today I'll share with you the signs that indicate Summer is officially upon us, and the challenges we face as a result.
Sign 1: The weather report. There's not much use even checking the weather report during the summer months. It will be 100+ every day, with 0% chance of rain, and virtually no breeze. The snapshot of the 10 day forecast from I'm sharing with you, shows a pretty typical week, however I must point out that we're just in the beginning stages of the season. Within a few weeks the temps will hit 115 degrees and pretty much stay that way until the rains come. Now really, I don't find much difference between 105 and 115. Hot is hot. How do we keep cool? We don't. I mean, all this crap about "But it's a dry heat" is exactly that. Crap.
Sign 2: Blackouts. This is an except from a news article found in the Times of India newspaper on March 7th. Please pay special attention to the last sentence. 
That's right, we're looking at 6 hours a day of no electricity. No air conditioner. No ceiling fan. No ice cubes. Nada. Just hot, sticky, suffocating air.The city simply cannot keep up with the rising demand for electricity. Noting the temperatures, and the desire to have fans or air coolers running at all times, just puts further strain on the already overburdened grid and leaves us in sweaty darkness for several hours a day.  We'll generally have 3-4 outages per day, ranging anywhere from 1-2 hours each. Sometimes they'll print the schedule in the paper so you can plan accordingly but I find more often that the power cuts are kind of sprung on us and varying times daily. 
This year we have finally taken measures to combat the outages, and had a power inverter installed in our apartment. It's basically a $300 battery pack that will automatically kick on when the power goes out and keep a few lights and fans running for anywhere from 2-4 hours. It's not powerful enough to run appliances, including our television, and the electrician warned against keeping the laptop charging on the inverter as that will draw more power, hence decreasing the time things can run on the battery. As I'm currently working night shifts, I'm really relying on this little contraption. The power going out and the ceiling fan kicking off serve as an alarm clock. Since I sleep during the day, when ALL of the power cuts occur, I'm getting woken up every few hours as the fan kicks off, immediately breaking into a sweat, and finding it impossible to fall back asleep due to a combination of heat and street noise. I'm counting on this to solve all those problems. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint.
Sign 3: The Water Tanker. Our Summer sign indicators conclude with the Indian Water Tanker. Just as the city can't keep up with our electricity needs. Neither can they keep up with the demand for some high quality H20. As we noted in our first summer sign, there's no rain.

When ground water gets low, we call in the Water Tanker. The tanker will deliver approximately 5000 liters of water for rs500, or $10. During the hottest summer months, the tanker will come once per day and empty it's contents into an underground holding tank. The watchman then controls the times throughout the day that water is available by turning off the pump for what feels like 23 hours a day, and giving you two 30 minute opportunities per day to run around and fill up as many containers as you can before he shuts the water off again. If you think the fan is an alarm clock for me, you should see me spring into action when I hear that water motor kick on. I'll spring out of bed from a dead sleep and frantically start filling buckets to keep in the bathroom for bathing and even flushing, if required. In the past few summers, I've developed the skill of being able to shave, bathe, and wash/condition my hair, in less than 2 gallons of water. I could probably do it in less if I really put my mind to it.
So there you have it. The three sure signs of Indian summer.


  1. Hot is hot, whether it is humid or dry, although humid presents its own difficulties. Here, in Kolkata, it is 90%(+) in terms of humidity. I spoke to my mother just last night and she recounted that when she lived in Houston, she would wash her clothes in the evening and leave them out to dry. In the morning, they were still as wet because of all the humidity!
    By the way, you may want to convert to Celsius. Other than those in the U.S. (and perhaps 1-2 other countries), your readers think that 100 degrees is the boiling point of water. Although 100 degrees Fahrenheit may feel like the boiling point of water, it is still far from it.

  2. Thanks for your comment Micky. I don't envy the humidity you face in Kolkata!
    Even after being here almost two years, I still cannot do the temperature conversion in my head, nor can I relate when discussing temperature in Celsius. Hence I've continued referring to the temp in Fahrenheit and included a converter tool on my blog. Most of my readers are family and friends in the US as well so I thought this made more sense considering my audience.
    How do you guys combat the heat? Any tips for the readers?