India’s record heat wave has killed more than 370 people

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(CNN) – Its simply unbearably hot. You can’t really see it, but you sure can feel it; and it feels like you’re sitting in an oven, with hot wind blowing at you from day to night.

Mohammad Zakir, a rickshaw puller, said, “It’s very hard to work like this, it’s sweaty, sometimes we get dizzy. Every summer I get seriously ill.” However, Zakir has no choice, his family depends on him, so he cycles, earning some 300 rps or $5 per day.

It’s hard to imagine how daily wage laborers who have to work in the sun all day and don’t have access to modern amenities like air conditioning, fans and many times even water, how they deal with the heat.

Most Indians live in villages, where some 300-million don’t have access to electricity. Many don’t have running water either, which means long walks in scorching heat.

In rapidly expanding cities like Delhi, pollution and the sheer number of people only making things worse, and the worst affected are the daily wage laborers toiling away in the sun, with no labor laws barring them from doing so in such punishing temperatures.

Zakir said, “What can we do. We have to work to fill our stomachs. This is our karma I guess.”

India recently recorded its highest ever temperature; mercury in one town shooting up to 51 degrees Celsius or 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the sun sets, for the hundreds of thousands of homeless like Zakir, there’s no respite.

The only hope now, the much-anticipated monsoon rains due in June, and thankfully this year it’s expected to be above average.

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