By Nabeel A. Khan
New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) A bevy of college girls with their heads covered in bandanas or cotton scarves and eyes protected by sunglasses get down from a bus only to make an abrupt halt at a kiosk selling 'kanchas', a chilled lime drink. It takes a while before they get back the energy to utter, "My god! It's so hot".
Motorists and pedestrians alike frequently bless 'nariyal paani walas' or fresh coconut water sellers, and fruit juice sellers, never mind the prices charged. For, its unbelievably hot for this time of the year.
With the city experiencing the hottest April day in 52 years on Saturday (43.7 degrees Celsius), Delhiites are working upon various ways to beat the heat.
The best cooling agents are a variety of fruits like watermelon and cucumber that can be found piled up on the roadside.
"As the heat goes up, our sales also go up," says Raju Mahto, a vendor near Hansraj College, in between taking orders from students for a plate of fruit salad.
"Kanchas and juices are a favourite among the students and passersby in the morning hour but during the later part of the day, people prefer to have fruits like watermelon and kakri (cucumber)," he said.
Rahul Bhasin, an executive with a private firm, said he often takes a break on his way to office and stops at a roadside fruit stall near Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi.
"In summer, it's a great time to devour watermelons and kakris or cool off with a glass of shikanji. This is how I beat the heat. I'm also going for river rafting to Rishikesh next week," Bhasin said.
Deeksha Sood, an entrepreneur, said: "It feels so heavenly and soothing to see the roads across the city stocked with fruits."
Fruits and lemon juice with water are the best way to fight the heat with, says Nalin Nag, a senior consultant in the department of medicine at Apollo Hospital.
He, however, warned that children and the elderly should be more careful during this season. "Children and the elderly are more vulnerable to heat waves. They may suffer from heat stroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Lime water with salt can give immediate relief in such cases," Nag told IANS.
However, dietician Vandana Shekhawat feels summer is the best season to shed those extra pounds.
"In summer, we generally don't have appetite for high calories and we mostly prefer taking fruits and fluids which help in checking weight. So, if we add a brief workout regime, it can be the icing on the cake," Shekhawat told IANS.