Only Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.


As the summer season reaches a peak in India, temperatures are at 44 (and even beyond) in places like Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad. In comparison to that, Mumbai at 34 seems like a jolly cool place to be in right now !



In tropical climes there are certain times of day

When all the citizens retire,

to tear their clothes off and perspire…..

Mad dogs and Englishmen, go out in the midday sun,

The Japanese don´t care to, the Chinese wouldn´t dare to,

Hindus and Argentines, sleep firmly from twelve to one”

Despite Noel Coward’s song from the title, it isn’t just mad dogs and Englishmen but many others who are forced to step out in the mid-day sun—whether for work, to pick up kids from school, run errands, travel and generally carry on with our working lives. It’s a tough task to stay hydrated and keep in the shade with so many trees being cut down and water shortages everywhere.

For those of us living in cities and fortunate enough to have 24 hours of electric supply and able to afford air conditioners to keep us comfortable, remember to keep the temperature not lower than the magical 24 deg.


After all, whether Trump and others from the oil conglomerate agree or not and whether climate change is real or not, it just makes sense to be responsible and use energy wisely.



India’s huge need for electricity is a problem for the planet”

These alarmist headlines seem to convey that it is Infootprintdia and China who are going to plunge the world into darkness sooner or later. But this is an old trick used by the West, by conveniently hiding its own sins of the past and for failing to also point out that one single child born in USA is likely to have a carbon footprint as big as 17 children in a country like Bangladesh or India.

As this other article says clearly: “The point is that the population problem isn’t just something “over there” in “those poor countries,” where they may be having more children. From a consumption perspective, the developed countries have a bigger population problem than the developing countries!”

So maybe we should be talking about family planning campaigns for sustainable development with the USA??!


India is already taking steps towards becoming a solar power giant and by the end of 2015 just under one million solar lanterns were sold in the country, reducing the need for kerosene. 46,655 solar street lighting installations were provided under a national program and just over 1.4 million solar cookers were distributed. If you are interested in donating to NGOs that supply solar lamps so rural children can study in the evenings, check this out

In school we learn that all stars are just like our Sun, but very, very far away and that the Earth rotates around the Sun. But the idea that we live in a heliocentric system rather than a geocentric one cost Galileo his life. Even though he was only defending what Nicolas Copernicus had said some decades ago. (Copernicus died of natural causes soon after he published his theory and was spared any punishment by the Church).


As is often the case, here in India the heliocentric theory had apparently been written up as early 500 AD by Aryabhatta.

Eratosthens, Chief Librarian at Alexandria, used the knowledge of the length of the shadow in two known places to calculate the earth’s circumference as long ago as circa 195 BCE, without even leaving Egypt.


Much before and much beyond its scientific understanding, we humans have also worshipped the Sun, whether as the Sun God Ra in Egypt, or the Surya Dev with his chariot of seven horses, or Huitzilopochtli and Intli of the Aztecs and Incas. Indians also have a hymn (Gayatri Mantra) and yoga postures (Surya Namaskar) dedicated to the Sun.

sun god

So many temples have been built around the world to ensure that the Sun’s rays fall at a certain point at a certain time such as at the inner sanctum at the Sun Temple in Konark, the Kanyakumari temple, Stonehenge etc.

What we are all really worshipping is a big ball of hydrogen being converted to helium through nuclear fusion. But then while astronomers travel the world to view a solar eclipse to help measure phenomena in the live setting, there are as many who would attach more spiritual meaning to it.

In India we have so many wonderful and imaginative stories related to it such as the baby Hanuman wanting to eat the rising Sun like an apple, Hiranyakashyapu who could be killed only when it was neither day nor night, Karna being born to Kunti when she called upon the Sun God and so many others. Greek mythology has the story of Icarus, who, despite his father’s warning, flew too close to the Sun using his wood and wax wings. They melted and he had a huge fall. Lesson ? Parents are always right ! Yeh baal dhoop mein safed nahin hue hain beta 🙂

We could also chat endlessly about solar winds, solar flares, red giants, white dwarves, the magnificent Aurora Borealis, perhaps even black holes, but an 800 word blogpost limit cannot possibly cover every topic under the sun 😉 let alone about it!

Stephen Hawking has already recommended that humans should leave the solar system in the next 100 years, but until then, as we whirl away around this middle aged, average sized yellow star in the distal spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, it’s time for us to chill out with some beautiful songs about the sun!!


Let us start with the absolutely delightful song from Bawarchi:


  1. Bhor ayi gaya andhiyara!

Up next is the philosophical song reminding us of the limited time we are lucky enough to have on this 3rd rock from the Sun:

  1. Chadhta suraj dheere dheere dhalta hai, dhal jayega.

After that serious one, here is a melodious romantic song, in Sonu Nigam’s perfect voice

  1. Suraj hua madham, Chand jalne laga

This is a song for the faithful, whose soul finds peace in the presence of whoever they worship, just like a person under the scorching sun would find peace in the shade of a tree.

  1. Jaise suraj ki garmi se jalte hue tan ko mil jaye taruvar ki chaya

I have saved the best for last.

Farooq Sheikh- Deepti Naval’s song, in Jagjit Singh’s velvet voice, from the movie Saath Saath.

tumko dekha

  1. Tumko dekha toh yeh khayal aya, zindagi dhoop tum ghana saya


3 thoughts on “Only Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

  1. The third Rock is solar powered and certainly knows its importance. And in India it is worshipped and revered by all. Emergence of knowledge is described as rising of the Sun…. May The Sun always shine on your Muse….

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