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All posts by Dr Tahira Shahid

The thing is to know how we can fight this heat wave, how can we beat this hot weather by Chughtai Lab

Beat the Heat Wave!

“Perhaps we need to cool down!!!”

Ever wondered why you are so angry these days? Why are you getting into a brawl with almost everyone? Problems at work and home? Pending work load and that constant feeling of being extremely tired!

Congratulations! You are officially “the hottest guy/girl around”.

Though it’s kind of flattering to be called “hot”. Perhaps not around this time of the year! With sky rocketing temperatures and the extreme heat wave. The sun might just be getting to your head.

Petty fights over a parking spot turning to vengeful battles is only a reaction  to your constant discomfort due to our heavenly companion “the sun” . A taste of the hell fire perhaps each day seems to be getting hotter than the previous.
Whether it’s the sun getting closer or we are enabling it through our concrete jungles the truth is it is unbearably hot.
People are dying and people every day are falling extremely sick.
There are tons of flyers out there to tell you about heat stroke, heat wave and heat exhaustion and Google is loaded with information on what you can or should do about it.
But we feel we need to address it more according to where we live and how we may handle it in our country keeping our culture, circumstances and environment in mind.

We all know what it does to us in terms of making our body temperature really plummet, our head throb with headache, dizziness and that fainting feeling with your child’s school calling in to tell you she collapsed during the morning assembly, nose bleeds, sun burns on the skin: those red patches turning dark over your cheeks, extreme muscle pain and weakness making you feel so drained like you have just run a marathon with a ton on your head, a rapidly beating heart that is thumping in your chest, hot and dry skin that looks as parched as those cracked mud fields you saw on TV when they showed droughts in Somalia.

Nausea at the sight of food, though you are hungry and it’s your favorite meal and throwing up the moment you try to have it. All this and feeling cranky, angry, delirious and confused and one word to sum it all; very very uncomfortably intolerably hot!

The thing is to know how we can fight this heat wave, how can we beat this hot weather.

Almost every region has its dress in accordance to its weather. Culture actually springs from the weather: neither religion nor nationality makes you wear what you do.

The pagri or pag the pride and honor of our ancestors and the loose airy muslin tehmat were the dress for a purpose. When the Arab in the desert wears the loose fitting white thobe and agal on his head, he did so to beat the heat wave. The much spoken hijab or loose covering to cover the head isn’t just a mark of modesty it’s a protection from the ruthless sun.

Loose light coloured clothing that is airy and made of our own grown cotton with a suitable head cover protected us then and can protect us now. Not that everyone can wear a tehmat or pag now but they certainly can avoid figure hugging spandex nylon and rayon in dark dyed shades. Our lawn industry isn’t flourishing for no reason! And we should promote it by wearing local.

Then come our houses. Those huge verandas and roshan dans of nanis home had a purpose. That jute ki charpoy or cot with air passing through it and a cotton quilt on it. With khas on the windows a plant mesh that tied to the windows and soaked with water would make the breeze pass through it cooler. Placing the fridge outside the room with least number of electronics and a tub of cold water with ice to soak our hankies in.

All these measures helped us beat the heat. Undoubtedly the trees around helped and there were shady spots and open fields. The least we can do now is keep windows open on both sides for cross ventilation.  Replace foam mattresses with cotton quilts. Replace metallic bed frames with jute ones. For those who can afford the air conditioner and the generator it’s a blessing to stay indoors and for those who can’t; such measures can help.

The less we use these machines the less they contribute in heating it more for others around us. Hanging the herb mesh we use in air coolers over windows, keeping the drapes drawn are simple little things that can make a difference.  For those who can we should install as many solar panels as we can to harness this energy.

A major overhaul in our cities planning but since that is something beyond our control at least the houses we construct should have huge windows.

Now let’s address as to what we can do and should be doing so effortlessly on a daily basis. It’s simpler than you think! Just go back to your roots when it comes to diet and drinking.
Our own conventional diet was organic, pure and the most suited to us. The famous imli aloobukhara (tamarind and plum juice), sikanjbeen (lemonade and modern day ORS to beat dehydration), aab shola (raw mangoes with black salt and fennel saunf), sattoo (barley water), lassi (buttermilk), podina chutney (mint and lemon chutney) what we may now consider obsolete are proven to be the healthiest and rehydrating drinks and diet.

They are neither diuretics nor dehydrating, kidney straining, sugar laden diabetes causing, sodium loaded And blood pressure raising or preservative and dye filled fizzy sips of poison that we so proudly consume in the name of sodas and drinks. These were and continue to be scientifically proven to be the healthiest options to keep the body and it’s fluid and electrolyte levels in control.

Not having too much meat or oil in summer and having the seasons vegetable and fruit that God has provided for in a particular season is an answer to it all. Having frozen processed foods from a storage isn’t a luxury rather it is a strain on our health.

So let’s just follow these simple little steps and go back to being who we are in pride and confidence. Cause nanis are never wrong and their totkay carried their love. It was hot then too but people weren’t dying or as sick. Yes, let’s plant trees, minimize concrete and all that but to begin with what we can now and for our own health we are what we eat. We are known for what we wear and how we live and we shall beat these summers !

Wishing you all a joyous summer. Enjoy the nights and make the best of what we can, helping who may not be as fortunate with the kind of facilities we may have by encouraging healthy organic vendors and local national lifestyle where we can. Nothing is more “cool” than being original!

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