A day in the hot summers of Gangetic plains in North India

by Durgessh Kumar Srivastava JiBhaiya@gmail.com
(New Delhi, India)

Stories of living, working, travel or survival in very hot climates invariably paint a picture of dust, sweat, grime and toil to beat the scorching sun, dehydration and sunstrokes. But it is not always so and not at all places.

Most of the Indo-Gangetic plain in North India and parts of Pakistan has scorching summers, the temperatures touching or crossing 45 degree centigrade. Despite the fact that this geographical region has dozens of perennial rivers - Ganga, Yamuna, Kosi Sutlej, Vyas, Ravi, Chenab and Indus, large parts of the plains are dusty and bone dry. The entire area is densely populated with large cities and metros. The hot summer season stretches for a minimum of two-three months and the weather becomes bearable only with the arrival of the rainy season in July.

People by and large are not afraid of the hot summers. Farmers welcome it as they are freed from their hard toil in the fields after bringing in the harvest and selling the same in the agricultural market centres They have cash to finance the weddings of their children. A large number of weddings are solemnized in the summer months. Schools and colleges are closed after annual examinations and children and young people enjoy feasting, singing and dancing that is a part of every wedding in the area.

People enjoy the afternoons in side their thick walled cool houses or shady thickets of trees and the evenings and nights are spent on roof tops or under the open sky.

Many seasonal goodies are available for eating and drinking - mangoes, water melons, musk melons, sugarcane juice and Lassi - a cold drink made with milk, yoghurt, sugar and water. Flying kites from the rooftops is children's joy. If elections are held in the summers the days and ;evenings become hectic.

The summer is also the time for fashion. Ladies and gents clothings are made from fine muslin fabrics in Delhi, Lucknow, Lahore and Dacca and other centres.. The rich have their own agenda - living in air conditioned houses or rushing off to hill stations in the Himalayas to cool off. The very rich go to Europe or North America.

Cricket is India's most popular sport. There are day and night cricket matches and young people and children enjoy these without the fear of their examinations which are over. Many religious shrines of the Hindus are in the Himalayas and summers are the best time to visit them - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Amarnath etc.

Thirst quenchers like sugar-cane juice, ice creams and Lassi are available at roadside stalls, affordable to all. Yes, an Indian summer is a joy for all.

- Durgesh Kumar Srivastava, New Delhi, India,30 Aug,10

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