Cool It Down: Taking a Break from the Heat in Chennai

Image credit: The Times of India

In summer, when the heat is unbearable, it is important to find ways to cool down in a natural, budget-friendly, healthy and sustainable way. In Chennai, the age-old practice of drinking paanakam, sucking on padsheer and taking poppy seeds is suggested to keep your body cool. Your home can also get summer-proofed with the use of thatch for terrace shading or applying a fresh coat of white paint to the terrace to bounce off sunlight. For the gardeners, vegetables such as chilli, tomato, pumpkin, and brinjal are suggested to survive the heat. For pet parents, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure that their pets stay hydrated and vaccinated to prevent heat-related illnesses. Additionally, practicing yoga and learning pranayamas such as sheetkari and shitkari can help regulate the body and maintain a cool temperature. Lastly, torso immersion in cool water has been found to be the most effective way to reducing body temperatures.

Dr Bhuvaneswari Shankar, a dietician at Apollo Hospitals, is a proponent of these methods and has studied healthy ways to cool the body through the use of jaggery. Murali Murugan, architect and Chennai-based expert, and barani Dharan, veterinarian at the ARk Veterinary Hospital both suggest adding thatch as shading to terraces and trimming pet fur, respectively, to control air temperature in the home and on pet bodies. Finally, Sai Krishnan, a professional gardener, suggests mulching with a mix of peat moss, coco coir and dried leaves to ensure the vegetables in the garden are hydrated and can survive the heat of summer.