A few days ago, I wrote a blog post on ‘Jugaad,’ a Hindi word meaning the use of meager resources innovatively to make life easier and better. (The Great Indian Jugaad, (https://wordpress.com/post/jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/5550).
It was winter when I wrote that piece and it did not occur to me at that time that an example of a jugaad exists right inside my home! Yes, I think you must have guessed about it already from the pic on the top; it’s a cooler.
Here is the story behind this wonderful contraption. It starts in the year 2006. Congress party was in power in Delhi at that time and DESU (State Electricity Board) had unbridled freedom to callously keep increasing electricity tarrifs, regardless of hardships caused to common people like us and the Board’s inefficient and corrupt way of functioning. In around June 2006, when summer was at its peak, we received an electricity bill of Rs.5000. That was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. An annual expenditure of Rs.60K+ on electricity bills alone was simply unjustified and beyond our meagre incomes in those days. That’s how the idea of installing this giant cooler on our terrace came to my husband Sukhangshu’s mind. Since it is the AC that draws maximum electricity, he began working on this problem right away. It took him just one month to get it working. It gave him great pride to see that it worked quite well as per our requirements.
This cooler is connected to our main water supply so there is no need to keep filling it manually. With the help of special ducting, cooled air passes through all the rooms, so it feels like a centralized AC unit; all this at the cost of running a cooler, which is quite minimal! Its annual maintenance requires replacement of only the 3 khus pads and occasionally the pump or fan. It is also a very eco-friendly option, as the gas used in cooling in ACs tends to deplete the earth’s protective ozone layer. To prevent rusting, Sukhangshu gets its body painted every 2-3 years.
This cooler has one limitation though. Its cooling is not very good during the hot, humid months of July and August, but that’s only occasional and tolerable. We still have the AC to fall back upon.
This cooler has served us quite well so far and continues to do so by letting us sleep comfortably and peacefully without worrying about a heavy electricity bill at the end of the month.