The last few days have been terribly hot. The mercury has touched 43 degrees Celsius and is still rising.

Most of us have retreated into the comfort of our homes or working places cooled with ACs and desert coolers and barely venture out. TV programmes urge us to take adequate measures to beat dehydration: electrolytes, cool drinks and watch for warning signs and call the doctor if need be.

If we feel bored we drive in an air conditioned car to an air conditioned mall or movie hall or even take time off to head to the hills or cooler climes in faraway lands though the terrible heat is still a good cocktail party conversation piece.

Yet here is an India just at our doorstep that has no option but to carry on irrespective of the sweltering heat. We do see them as we zip pass in our air conditioned cars and yet never look at them as one of us. Next time you take a trip in your car do take time to look through your window. You will see people who are out in the heat no mater what as if they were to stay home their families would go hungry: the construction workers, the ice cream vendor, the balloon vendor and his shrill whistle, the corner cobbler, the vegetable vendor pushing his cart on hot tared roads his feet protected by flimsy sandals and whose parched throat can barely call out, the water vendor who quenches other people’s thirst; the countless person who are daily wagers and cannot afford a single day off. The very ones that disturb us and that we want to wish away and hide behind walls.

And if you think that they do not concern you, think again many of them make our own lives more comfortable: the delivery boy who cycles in the heat to get you what you need at that very instant, the electrician or repair man who has to come by when your cooler stops working and s so many others who form part of that invisible India we chose to ignore and want to wish away.

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