The period of Chennai’s worst weather has begun. But even as the Kathiri veyil beats down mercilessly, the personnel guarding the strong rooms housing the EVMs stand their ground in duty. Most of them say the experience they have gained in serving many a security detail comes in handy in having to deal with either the blistering heat or the mosquito menace.
“I ask my people to drink a lot of water. That is the best option available to us. Given the amount of time we have to spend here it would be impractical to drink tender coconut water or buttermilk regularly. Most of us cannot afford it,” says an inspector on duty at Anna University.
Others security personnel on duty say it is a great advantage that a large number of educational institutions are where the centres are based as they have a healthy tree cover. “It helps. But no matter how many trees you have, it does get hot. Many young personnel, especially those who are not from coastal areas, face trouble because they do not drink as much water,” the inspector adds.
But it is not just the heat alone. Those on night duty routinely have to deal with mosquitoes. “It is a good thing that it is not the rainy season because then there would be a lot of mosquitoes. Now, we only have to deal with a few of them, and that too only in centres close to water bodies,” says an inspector on duty at Loyola College.
“There are so many of us. Mosquito repellent cream is not an option because it costs so much. It is the mosquito coil that is our friend,” he declared, grinning.