The Curiosity Index (India edition)

Today I’m flying to Hyderabad, India for a second visit. I was there last year and it’s a privilege to be invited back. So here are a few India related items for you to expand your horizons:

Cracking India’s mystifying nod-code

One thing all travellers to India talk about – apart from the dreaded Delhi Belly, of course – is the great Indian head nod. It’s not exactly a nod (up and down from the neck, meant to indicate ‘yes’) – or a shake (straight side to side to convey ‘no’). It’s a smooth movement that involves tilting the head from side to side vertically, either gently or fiercely.

The great nod is also called the Indian head wobble, bobble, waggle or the headshake. It is not a jerky or firm motion, but even and continuous; one that Priya Pathiyan, a Mumbai-based writer who conducts guided tours in her city for visitors, describes as “somewhat like an infinity sign, or a numeral eight lying down”.

I’ve always assumed it meant, ‘I’m being polite and am listening.’

In India, Summer Heat May Soon Be Literally Unbearable

Extreme heat is a major problem.

Worldwide, among the 100 most populous cities where summer highs are expected to reach at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to estimates by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, 24 are in India.

One solution is low-cost and low-cost. White tarpaulin.

In Hyderabad, a similar effort is being tested. A pilot project by a team of engineers and urban planners covered a handful of tin-roofed shacks with white tarpaulin. It brought down indoor temperatures by at least two degrees, which was enough to make the intolerable tolerable. Now they want to expand their cool-roof experiment to a 1-square-kilometer patch of the city, installing cool roofs, cool walls and cool sidewalks, and planting trees. Their main obstacle now: funding.

The staggering rise of India’s super-rich

Staggering undersells it.

…India’s expanding billionaire class, of whom there are now 119 members, according to Forbes magazine. Last year their collective worth amounted to $440bn – more than in any other country, bar the US and China. By contrast, the average person in India earns barely $1,700 a year. Given its early stage of economic development, India’s new hyper-wealthy elite have accumulated more money, more quickly, than their plutocratic peers in almost any country in history.

 

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