Mumbai Memoir 89- Mumbai ‘feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!’
Global weather is a topic of international discussion these days. Mumbai is not an exception to it. These days the city has been experiencing a heat wave thus elevating the temperature to 40-42 degree centigrade! There was a time when the city used to be ‘much cooler’, compared to today’s standards.
The hot and humid nature of Mumbai’s air is due to the presence of the Arabian Sea that surrounds its bay. As per the Indian Meteorological Department these days, the warm and dry easterly winds are causing an increase in temperature in the coastal region.
Earlier Mumbai had many ‘green thumbs’ located in various pockets of the city. In South-Central Mumbai, the zoo area of Byculla still has dense trees and huge garden with all varieties of plants. Even at mid-day as I pass by the area on scooter, I feel as if the air blowing through the trees is wrapping me with minty coolness. Located in a North Mumbai suburb called Borivli, a huge area that still is untouched by concrete structures, is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is a huge area of about 35 kilometres, which is rich in flora and fauna! The water bodies inside the park are pleasant relief for the birds and animals in the blazing heat of Mumbai.
One of the reason attributed to Mumbai’s increasing temperature is that the heat radiated by the blazing sun seems to be absorbed by the Asphalt and concrete (of the buildings, bridges & monorail concrete tracks) and gradually gets released at night. This is technically called as the ‘urban heat island effect’.
But irrespective of the heat and humidity one would see Mumbaikar’s wiping beads of perspiration that trickles down their forehead and buzzing as usual. It is a common sight to notice people in search of cold stuffs that they would gulp down their throat to find quick relief from the heat. The streets are full of cold beverages and juicy fruits that can relieve one from the city’s ‘heat bites’!
Coconut water, lemon juice, ice candy and water melon slices & mocktail crushes are ‘hot favourite’ beverages that ‘cool’ the fuming heads of the common man here in Mumbai. The city still will have to bear the heat wave till mid-June. But the long summer this year surely is an indicator that the rains will be good. Like it happens in life, where there is futuristic hope one drags through the trials of life, similarly life continues in the metropolis as the perspiration drips from the foreheads of the hardworking Mumbaikars.
Photo credits: Shraddha C Sankulkar