What an air purifier means to a Chennaiite

Time was when the word inverter didn’t make sense for the Chennaiite that I am. I used to watch the ads on TV and wonder what the fuss was all about.

And then we happened to visit Kanpur sometime in the ‘90s for summer holidays to stay with a hi-fi cousin, whose husband worked as a general manager in a bank there. They stayed in a sprawling, colonial-type bungalow with a beautifully laid garden, complete with lawn and swing.

But it was a gruelling summer and almost close to heat wave conditions. And there was the notorious, unscheduled power cuts even in that posh area.

So, my cousin and her husband said, they used inverters. Of course, it was tucked away from the beautiful rooms of the house and we never got to see them.

Sometimes, the couple would complain that there was not enough power to charge the inverter. I could still not understand what it was all about.

Once Chennai also started having long power outages, people started switching over to inverters. That is when I understood how it worked. Now we have three inverters at home.

The reason I am reminded about inverters is that I am getting to see ads for air purifiers and wondering what the fuss is all about. TV commercials are talking about them and so are newspapers. There is a lot of hard-sell.

A friend of mine who worked in smog-filled New Delhi till recently, tried to enlighten me. Since she worked for a successful news agency, she said they could afford air purifiers. There are many companies that cannot afford them and the staff suffer by inhaling the polluted air, she said.

Air purifier or no air purifier, another friend of mine in a top post in a Central government organisation is dreading being transferred to Delhi. “I don’t want to go there and get lung cancer what with all the pollution,” he says feelingly.

Chennai still does not have a pressing need like Delhi for air purifiers – or so I think.

But considering the influx into Chennai, the growth in number of vehicles and the resultant pollution, I may get to know what an air purifier is much sooner than I think.

R Chitra