This is the third week in India. The heat is getting more and more intense, especially during the day. I cannot believe how much we are getting used to this temperature so much so that when a day hits 95 degrees, that feels like a day to get a chair, sit outside, drink chai while catching up with one more episode of ‘The Office’’ which by the way, there is a Bollywood version in addition to the British. So, that means that I have endless episodes to watch.
For the most part of the day (9- 5), we are at the office with perfect air conditioning. We spend most of our times doing literature reviews on the causes of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents in India. Just to drop some facts from reading hundreds of research papers…did you know that in urban India, 22.4% of children are obese? The main cause of the rise in obesity rates is the westernization of the culture and lifestyle which has caused unhealthy eating and reduced physical activity among children. Obesity is a slow rising killer in the Indian population.
Talking about the need for physical activity, after work at 5, we have established a routine of going to a gym that is about 6 mins from our office and another 6 mins to home. That sounds like walking distance, right? Wrong. At 5 pm, the temperature is above 100 degrees. Just three minutes of walking outside is enough to make you feel like you’ll sweat off all the liquid inside the bone marrow. Luckily, rickshaws are pretty convenient and cheap.
Weekends are what we look for- time to explore India and interact with people of all backgrounds. Indian culture is very accepting of foreigners. So people will offer you help in all ways possible and that is a blessing in disguise. We have to mind our surroundings all the time. Getting to New Delhi from our house is pretty easy, thanks to the ultramodern subway system that runs across the city from one end of the suburb to another. It cost 50 rupees (about 80 cents) for a distance of 25 miles. Talk about saving your coins, time and the convince! The train system here is worth an award. It’s clean, safe and they have a bench for women ONLY in all the couches.
New Delhi is so huge and highly populated. There are a lot of cool things to see and so many markets to buy kurtas (I have come to love them, they work so well with this heat) and jewelry (ok, a moment of silence for the jewelry). We have been to a couple of markets and bought very cool things for prices that you can only dream of in the US. So many beautiful things and ornate items in all forms at affordable prices. If you love shopping. This is heaven. You only have to endure the summer heat.
I cannot wait to explore different areas of the city, especially temples and historical sites. Schools also open for a new semester in July and so I am looking forward to seeing how policies that are created by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in collaboration with the Ministry of health concerning children’s health are implemented in schools.