Hit & Run: Call this a heatwave?

I ear you have a heatwave. You have my sympathy, you really do. I understand that yesterday, the temperature was due to reach 3C. On Sunday afternoon here in Delhi, the heat index – which tells you how hot it feels when the humidity and heat are combined – was 5C. The minimum temperature, reached at around 5am, was about 3C. Yes, I have real sympathy.

Indians, of course, have had millennia to get used to the hot weather. None of this new-fangled global-warming-hottest-seven-summers-on-record sort of stuff. In the old days, the British elite used to cart themselves off to the hills during the summer and set up base in "stations" such as Shimla. The Mughals beat the heat by building thick, stone-walled buildings and palaces that incorporated architectural features such as courtyards designed to increase the circulation of air.

Modern Delhi, by contrast, is an utter horror. There are 20m people, too many cars, too many rickshaws, too many buildings. The months of May and June are a constant battle to avoid getting fried. Get up after 7.30am and you can forget any exercise out of doors, or at least until nightfall. If you're planning a cool drink on the balcony maybe wait until midnight. Or the winter.

What makes it worse, of course, is the pathetic situation in regard to electricity and water. The hapless city authorities blame the power providers who in turn claim they've been caught out by the unexpected temperatures. Duh. It's India in the summer. It's always hot. And with power cuts in Delhi running from three hours a day to 18, India's burgeoning middle class, which likes to snap up A/C units, fridges and television, sits and melts like everyone else. The poor have been demonstrating and ransacking the electricity company offices.

So how to beat the Indian summer when the power is out and the limp, stuttering fan powered by a back-up battery does nothing more than blow furnace-like air into your face and your over-heating laptop is actually burning your hands?

Here are some tips I've learned that might be of use to you over the next few long, hot days.

1. Try a glass of Jal Jeera, an Indian drink made of water, cumin, mint, asafetida or heeng, lemon and spices that actually cools you down. A little bit. In his classic book, City of Djinns, William Dalrymple claims this drink has greater chilling properties than any fan or A/C unit but the urbane author might be talking about its trendiness factor.

2. Find a shady tree, sit under it. Don't move until November.

3. Buy a generator, power up your A/C and sod the environment getting choked by all those diesel fumes.

4. Get a job in a call centre, allowing yourself to work through the night answering the pathetic whines of Westerners; sleep during the day.

5. Talk to the ice wallah, the man who in every neighbourhood pedals around with a huge chunk of ice wrapped in an old sack. Ask him if there's a job in his freezer.

6. Pray for rain. Did anyone mention the monsoon? Andrew Buncombe



The website that enables your receipt deceit

For members of Parliament, the BBC high command or even the royal family still trying to make their expense claims look worthier falseexpense.com can turn your moat cleaner into a legitimate plumbing emergency, your duck pond into disability access, and a Glasto jolly into a dull weekend conference. For a small fee, the website prints fake receipts for anything from jewellery stores to 24-hour garages, including unique barcodes and store logos. The service, says its CEO Andreas Carthy, provides "evidence for white lies in many situations". Looking at the site's suggested "situations", Hit & Run wonders what Carthy would define as a non-white lie.

An unmisabble message in red capital letters at the top of the homepage reads "For Novelty Use Only". Those novelty uses include: "Pretend an item of fake jewellery you bought is real" (an engagement ring, perhaps?); and "Pretend you were away in a hotel for the weekend" (when you were on a minibreak with your mistress?). 30 per cent of the site's business comes from the UK, Carthy claimed last year. As if we didn't already have enough problems with real receipts, let alone fake ones.

It seems Carthy is happy to encourage immoral behaviour as long as it's not illegal. Among the site's examples of inadvisable usage are "False receipts for insurance fraud" (duh!) and "Claim[ing] false extras on your expense account", which seems a bit counterintuitive from a site called falseexpense.com. Tim Walker

Wimbledon's grave mistake

Every year, Londoners marvel at the enterprise of their SW19 neighbours, as a fair percentage of Wimbledon residents stay with friends for a fortnight, renting their homes at premium rates to Championship tennis fans, players, coaches and media folk. A friend with two houses on the Ridgeway has made £30,000 per fortnight for the last few years. But the news about St Mary's Church in Wimbledon Village seems a step too far. For it's been charging motorists £20 a day to park in the graveyard. Only on the graves of "people whose descendants can't be traced," say the church, heartlessly. But this year some cars were parked on still-visited graves, and there was hell to pay. How far will Wimbledonians go in whoring out their precious turf to tennis buffs? What'll be next? Surely there's a bit of room left on The Downs, in the Ursuline Convent Mixed Infants playground? John Walsh

Money for (next to ) nothing

Get ready for delays at the tills as squint-eyed shoppers study their change closely. Try to be patient, they're hunting for the coinage equivalent of Halley's Comet. The Royal Mint, which has been in the currency business a very long time, has released up to 200,000 20p pieces that bear no date – the first blunder of this kind for 300 years. Anyonewho finds one of the rogue coins is being offered the chance to trade it in for £50. Some may choose to hang on a few decades, however, when the so-called mules could fetch much more. Coins released in 1983 which mistakenly carried the words "new pence" rather than "two pence" are now worth £200 – a thousand fold increase on their face value. So the rogue 20ps could trade at £2,000 by 2035 – not a bad little earner. Jonathan Brown

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent