It’s October, the “dog days” of summer are (hopefully) over here in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, at least in our neck of the woods in Chattanooga, it was a long, hot, dry season. Some of us take great joy in complaining about this, symbolically wiping our brows and retreating back into our air-conditioned homes, cars, and workplaces.
On the Jaipur end of our Dekko team, though, what those of us in the Eastern U.S. think of as “hot” feels normal or even “cool”. To top it off, the economic and cultural realities there mean that A/C is a high-dollar luxury.
How “hot” is Jaipur? Wikipedia says that they have “hot semi-arid climate” with an annual average high temperature of 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The average high is over 90 from April through October, and nearly 105 in May and June, with hot days regularly getting past 110! It makes sense when you think about it, as Jaipur is at the same latitude as South Florida, and without the nearby ocean to moderate things.
It’s hard for many of us to imagine how a city of millions of people can function in that kind of climate. Of course, in some of the worst heat waves, people don’t cope well even there, with many deaths from heatstroke.
The normal, everyday heat, though is so “baked in” to Rajasthan that it is responsible for much of the aesthetic appeal of the region’s culture. The traditional architecture that draws so many tourists to the city reflects it—with thick stone walls and high ceilings to draw away the heat and trap the cool of the earth indoors. The lightweight, colorful clothing most Rajasthanis wear is a direct response to the heat as well, shielding wearers from the sun and wicking away sweat to provide what comfort can be found.
When we think on it, much of the charm of the great products Dekko’s artisans craft reflects the dry, warm, heart of Jaipur—from the cool stones, bones, and metal of jewelry to breezy sari scarves to the smoky-sweet smell of wood crafts. They naturally go so well with summer, and when the gray wet of winter (or monsoon, for our Jaipur partners!), these items bring a bit of sunshine back into our lives.
We all talk about the weather, but perhaps it’s not just idle chatter. Maybe weather matters because the climate of our places shapes so much about who we are and how we live.
Enjoy the autumn!
Photo credit: Sylvia King