The mercury is rising, heat levels are soaring, and all sorts of temperature records are being broken. While most of us have been whining about the hot summers, sitting in our AC offices that we get to sitting in AC cabs, the truth is that we have it pretty good. The full impact of the hot summers has been much worse for the thousands of workers who are out there on the roads, braving the heat head on. You’re not likely to see social media rants from these folks for whom the debilitating heat (as well as any other weather extremity) happen to be just an occupational hazard.
So, next time you complain about the heat and feel like you need a “well deserved vacation” away from work, spare a thought for these folks whose work just got cut out for them in these scorching summers.
1. Traffic police constable
Traffic cops are usually berated for being corrupt, but scratch the surface and they’re the people with one of the toughest jobs. They do not only battle unruly traffic, but also brave the elements while on the roads – the risk of being run over, toxic gases in the air, and the searing heat. When you’re in an AC cab getting to work, they’re out there on the frontlines, making sure you reach safe and sound.
2. Fuelling station attendant
While we barely spend any time outside our cars during our daily commutes, these people stay stationed at the petrol bunk for the larger part of the day. All while being surrounded by heat-emitting vehicles.
3. Roadside vendor
The ecommerce startups are all cool, but a lot of selling still happens on the road in India. These poor workers cannot afford the luxury of selling their goods from behind an air conditioned office, and so they are out on the road, looking to earn their bread and butter for the day with some sales, all while battling the soaring temperatures.
4. Delivery personnel
And even for those tech startups that enable us to shop while sitting in the comfort of our homes and offices, making all of it possible is these delivery personnel, who, come rain or shine, bring our goods to us. Driving around long distances on a bike under the hot sun is one thing, having a 50 kilo delivery backpack strapped to your back while doing so is another.
5. Construction workers
The home that protects us from the brutalities of the elements, is ironically built by people who brave them. Construction workers are not only employed at risky jobs at construction sites, they usually work for minimum wages, extreme weather or not.
6. People who commute in local buses, like this
For us city folks, one of the biggest worries of the moment might be if we’ll get surge pricing on our Ubers or Olas, however there’s thousands of workers who have no option but to use the local bus. The buses follow little to no schedule, leave alone a seat, finding enough space to stand is a blessing, and that doesn’t make for great commutes when the temperatures hit the roof.
7. The Indian farmer
Thanks to the numerous food startups, we can now have the most basic to the most gourmet food delivered to our desks and homes. However, other than the delivery guy who gets us out food, far away from our sight is the humble farmer growing it all. For the farmer, there is no such thing as an AC or even a fan, and work for him means, being hot on the field during the hottest hours of the day.
Last year, more than 500 people died in a heat wave that had swept across India and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were the worst affected with temperatures reaching 48 degrees in some areas. Most of us will luckily never in a position to experience that.