Coping with hot spell.
Pakistan, May 25 -- With the burning end-of-May sun blazing fire
and mercury shooting up, Peshawar had the hottest day on Monday of the
mid-summer spell. Like Larkana, where the maximum temperature was
recorded as 51 degrees of Centigrade, many other cities are experiencing
the extreme weather. From the sweating peasants harvesting wheat in the
rural hinterland of the country to the engine drivers of Pakistan
Railways that have to sit from Peshawar to Karachi in the oven-hot
locomotives pulling express trains, everyone has a heart-rending story
to tell. With Wapda resorting to heavy load management, the frequent
power shut-downs add to the miseries of the people. Absence of
electricity obviously means a concomitant absence of drinking water.
With refrigerators and air-conditioners tripping every few minutes, the
kitchens and drawing rooms have the same sticky suffocation. Worst-hit
by the summer heat are the women and children caught up in the traffic
jams especially those caused by the police barricades. The condition at
the Mall-Garrison Club Chowk is simply chaotic. Bending over their
petrol-starved motorbikes, the traffic constables in smelly uniforms
adjust dusty wireless sets to their ears and shout profanities at the
tobacco-chewing bus drivers. The anti-encroachment staff has shooed away
the familiar music-loving boys that hawked lemonade at road bends. With
open beaks, the tiny birds hop from one water-tap to the other in search
of water but the apologetic tube-well operator looks at his watch to see
if it is time to switch on the water machine. Pigeons flutter around the
ground man watering rose plants in the park. Labourers contribute money
and manage the midday food under the mulberry tree. In sizzling heat,
the poor do not want the ice cream. They only want the steady power
supply and the functioning tube-wells. With these two facilities, they
can brave the climatic cruelties.
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