The people with and the people without an aircon: a sociodemographic divider


Summer in Pune is tougher than I have expected. I’m used to enjoy holidays in the south of Europe, with the temperatures that will go up to 33 or 34 degrees in summer time. In Pune, the average temperatures are slightly higher in April and May – the hottest days -, with very hot days where the temperature reaches 40 or 41 degrees easily. Honestly, the difference between 34 and 40 degrees is huge. I still enjoy hiking when the temperature reaches 34 degrees. However, with temperatures around 40 degrees, life is struggling, especially when the night temperatures also will not reach is winter-lows (now). Although it is quite hot in the evenings, I still like to walk during evenings and observe the Indian culture and lifestyle. During many of my recent walks, I have noticed a lot of people just sitting, actually doing nothing. Especially in the less developed parts of the city, people are forced to be outside to make a living and they are (unfortunately) exposed to the highs of the summer. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if you are a white-collar worker, there is no better place during these days; you should be going to your office! It is the best thing you could do, as offices have central air-conditioning and they keep the temperature low to keep the productivity of the workforce high. Everywhere, also in the office, talking about the weather is welcoming subject and I always ask whether people have an air-conditioning at home or not. What I found out is not a scientific surprise: higher income families have an air-conditioning at home, poorer families have not. Having one at home – during these exhausting days –  makes life more pleasant, but it also keeps you fit for work. Unfortunately that will not work for the people who cannot afford an air-conditioning. It gave me a painful insight: having an aircon or not is yet another sociodemographic divider in India.

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