“It would be so much fun if we weren’t melting in this heat!”, is something that people keep hearing every day. The heat in Delhi has reached its record high, and there is no easy way to go about the day without bearing the brunt of it. As multiple universities and schools have announced their mid-term breaks, it is the right time to catch up with friends. But, where do you hang out in this heat, when the evening temperatures are as high as 43 degrees Celsius on a normal day?
The young population of Delhi has its own tricks to play. They have managed to find places where they can hang out to beat the heat.
Malls and Cafes
Delhi’s malls and cafes are equipped with air-conditioners, and hence become the first choice for hangouts and meetups. Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj is a favourite among young folks, as it offers everything in one place.
“You can go ice-skating, and also have food after that. It is best to go there to spend time with friends,” says a student of Delhi University who frequently visits the mall to chill with his friends. Bowling is another activity that is becoming popular at this mall. Select Citywalk in Saket and Noida’s Great India Palace are other popular malls that people suggest when asked about where they prefer to go.
Cafes are also a popular choice. But one cannot stay at cafes for long, and they are expensive for the college-going crowd.
Families, however, prefer to go to cafes. In the afternoon, one can also find food courts at metro stations flooded with students and locals spending quality time away from the heat. The Okhla Bird Sanctuary food court is a popular hang-out space for people in and around South Delhi and Noida.
Water Parks and Cinema Halls
Water parks are another popular escape from the rising heat. Worlds of Wonder water park and Atlantic Water World are already witnessing kids and people visiting in large numbers. However, water parks can only be a one-time thing. “It’s fun, and calms you down, but you can’t do that every day”, says someone who recently visited a water park in Delhi.
Apart from water parks, cinema halls too are a good alternative for spending some quality time with your eyes glued to the screen. PVR and IMAX become an option for young people to spend their day during weekends.
Some functional public libraries across the city offer free entry, while some others are air-conditioned. The National Science Library in Katwaria Sarai is centrally air-conditioned and remains open till 5:30 pm every day. The library has reading rooms accessible to all.
Jamia Nagar Police Station Library, because of its air-conditioned spaces and well-lit study halls, is another place popular among students. The Delhi Public library is stretched out across five zones (central, east, west, south, and north) in the city, and has multiple branches within these zones. The public library is open to all.
The Japan Foundation Library says that the number of students that visit the library is limited as they only allow Japanese students. However, one can get an entry into the library by booking an appointment on the official website.
Other than these public libraries, smaller community libraries are also open throughout the daytime. “Some libraries have AC, while some don’t. I go to the library near my home. It is peaceful and they have an AC which makes it a win-win. I avoid going to big libraries which are usually crowded in this summer”, says a fashion designing student from Shaheen Bagh.
Parks do not seem like a good idea in this heat. However, some people do visit parks and gardens to spend their time in the later evenings. While the heat is relatively low when the sun sets down, many people believe that open spaces are very inhabitable during the day as well!
Deer Park in Hauz Khas, Lodhi Garden, Sunder Nursery are some of the popular parks and open green spaces that attract a lot of visitors in the evening.
Overall, there is a strong urge from a lot of young folks to set up community centers in Delhi, that would help them spend their time when it is unbearably hot outside.
While these places provide some sort of relief for relaxation during the day, another important factor is the hindrance in travelling to these places. People find it almost unendurable to get out and use any sort of vehicle to get to places. Hence, they try to avoid going out.
Metros in Delhi, however, ease this situation. A primary reason people prefer using metros is that they have air conditioning inside the trains. “I take the metro only because it has an AC. I regret it the moment I take an auto”, students often say.
A lot of people also say that the daytime is not suitable for going out. Many prefer to stay in their rooms. “You stay at home, sleep well, and go out in the evenings till late at night. The nightlife is the best thing to do now”, says a student. Clubs like Ghungroo, Imperfecto, Maquino and others are quite famous for their nightlife. Moreover, pubs and bars in popular places like Connaught Place, Nehru Place and Greater Kailash also offer great meet-up points for the young crowd.