Many years ago, Ravi came up with a crazy idea: "Let's cover the roof with white sheets," he said one particularly scorching hot day. "I'm sure it will cool the house down."
We made a half-hearted attempt, but we didn't have enough sheets and we couldn't keep them from getting rucked up when the kids played on the terrace or when we hung the clothes there to dry.
But the idea stayed in the back of Ravi's mind. This year, we finally decided to invest in doing it properly. We hired our old friend Atiq, who has been our house painter for years, and he and his team came and scraped down the moss and grunge from the roof and then laid down three coats of a dazzlingly white paint.
Now when we hang the clothes to dry at midday, we have to wear sunglasses. It's like sun on snow - BLINDING.
Later in the evening, it calms down a bit:
and the effect inside the house has been nothing short of miraculous. There is a difference of at least 4 degrees Celsius - sometimes, stepping into the house from outside, I feel like it's air-conditioned.
But that's not all. According to President Obama's Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, if we all did this, it would have a dramatic effect on global warming - the equivalent of taking all cars off the road for eleven years! You can read all about it in any number of articles - this one from The Independent is clear and simple.
I cannot believe how much a difference this has made in our lives. I totally advise any of you with roofs to do it. It cost us 12,500 rupees.