27 June, 2008

Water Witch

*Fiction is a piece of truth that turns lies to meaning. Just wanted to tell you that, for no apparent reason.


Sweet drinking water would come from 8:30-9:30 every morning. As the clock struck 8:30, everybody automatically suspended all activity. Whatever you were doing - ironing, getting ready, eating breakfast, itching, shitting, sleeping, reading the paper etc. etc. Each and very member of my blink and you'll miss it family would rush off to various orifices of the house. "Children - go to the bathrooms and fill all the buckets/तसला (tubs)/mugs in visibility. And whatever you do, do not forget the big red tub. The big red tub." Someone would rush to fill the bottles with water enough to last the entire day. Someone smart would time their bath perfectly in order to wash there hair in the sweet water, ingenuity helping avoid the brackish water we got throughout the day (it could give sea water a run for its salt anyday).


We underwent years and years later of this amusing rigmarole. The normal water would go. Seconds later amidst lots of gurgling/flatulent sounds, muddy water would whoosh out. It was brown, as a certain Ms. Roy would say, the colour of tepid tea-water. Patiently we'd wait and soon the murkiness would give way to lovely sparkling sweet water. "Taste it before you fill it." That was the test. Either your mouths would pucker into preservation or delight in the chlorinated artifice that we recognized as sweetness.


Then one fine day the Aquagaurd guy came along. With his newly acquired English and fancy instruments, he made the sweet water routine history. No more 8:30 alarms and sudden standstills of things that didn't involve water. Now sweet (yes Bisleri sweet) water was at our beck and sip. Here a glug, there a glug, everywhere a......you get the hint. We rejoiced in an era free of water woes. Soon the Aquaguard became more a part of our home than the family itself. It gurgled merrily in the kitchen watching over the maid as she washed the dishes in the oh-so-salty-water, over the basmati rice as it lay soaking lusciously, over talkative dinners and leisurely lunches.

Good things of course have this unbelievable inevitable pre-destined downward trajectory. The Aquaguard went kaput. The guy who installed it, once a smile plastered salesman, strong contender for the most frequent bell ringer contest, was now summoned. Where this that leave us? Spoiled by our life of luxury, we were jolted back into the reality of water collection. Argh. And without its halo (utility), the Aquaguard I realized was quite a monster. He chewed into our electricity bills, purifying our sea water but at what cost? For every 10L it purified, it spewed out 20L of... wait let me taste it...absolutely normal tasting water!


The Aquaguard got okay (yes its a cycle - good thing goes bad then gets ok but can never live up to its earlier reputation of untainted 'goodness'). But at the same time began my water saving experiment. I started trying to reroute all the water that the Aquagaurd defecated into something other than the drain. Buckets were lined up in self-effacing embarrassment, awaiting their turn as they collected the Aquaguard's waste. The collected water went towards watering the plants, washing dishes (though the maid cribbed forever), cleaning the car, washing clothes and bathing the dogs! So, for a few bottles of aquaguarded water, here I was managing to do all my other water activities. Maybe the poor Aquaguard wasn't to blame. He just needed some tweaking. Tapping all the water that was generally wasted became my maniacal crusade.


The मीठा पानी routine was again relegated to its rightful place in history. But I being the dud I am managed to inflict upon myself another completely voluntary water routine. Well with a falling water table and expanding waistline, I guess no one is complaining.

18 comments:

  1. well written. That reminds me, the cycle is a bit different at my folk's place. Our water pump(gets underground water) gets fresh water(meetha). But in the aquaguard era my folks decided to get it installed and that did it. Electricity(line as it is said there)is a 5hr/day affair there. And we are always on the prowl of the electricity to turn on the motor(get water) and then aquaguard(clean water).

    anyhow I would like to share some things about water here,
    http://spicycartoon.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. ya in my village the wait for electricity-switch on pump-get water cycle still goes on. Woh toh doosri baat hai that the electricity supply has become really really good :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Aquaguard is no small menace anyway...compare the pace at which water comes out of it to that from a normal tap..and also add to it the excruciatingly long 1 min that you have to wait before the green light appears!

    As a kid, as part of 'ghar ke kaam mein haath batana', I was assigned the task of filling around 12 bottles of drinking water everyday...if you know how restless kids are, you can guess how long those 15-20 mins seemed to me...I hate the sight of that machine now!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Water Woes. Oh, I guess we all have our share of them. In Lucknow, and in Nirala Nagar, there would often be no government supply of water because of the sarkari motor going kafoot. Now our tank was a cemented one. It had LOTS of water. However, the supply pipe was a little above the rock bottom of the tank. So even when there was no water in the taps, one still had water in the tank. Now behold the mighty Water Man, who in his nether garments, descended into the tank everytime and filled bucket after bucket of precious water. His back almost became flexible after those exploits. Gosh.

    Aquaguard ke baare mein toh na hi poocho. I hate to fill the bottles and I have often managed to sneak away tap water in them whenever asked to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Piper: yeah filling bottles always SUCH a pain

    Marvin: Tap water? Ass. Here on, all water-borne diseases in your curent family and subsequent generations shalt be attributed to you - the unreliable, dishonest, untrustworthy water filler.

    ReplyDelete
  6. here a glug, there a glug .... - LOL!

    Nicely written.. somehow never had this trouble of water i would say.
    However I would say - the *only cold water* rule of mine makes it abs necessary to drain off abt 5 glasses of water that Aquaguard dispenses at office. For one glass i,e, - 5 wasted! I have stopped cribbing now for drinking the normal temp water.

    ReplyDelete
  7. thank god
    in this part of delhi, there are hardly water woes
    plus when ur MLA is ur neighbour, it helps :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. This was rather going fine.. Till the dogs came in and joined the party!

    ReplyDelete
  9. pd: you REALLY have a problem with dogs I see...and this time they were an insignificant part of the post.

    psycho: MLA your neighbour. Damn, some people have all the luck. And ya its not all that bad in my part of Delhi too, I just have this incorrigible tendency to exaggerate :P

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hardly a problem...

    But its rather astonishing how marginally you can fit them into the tiniest of openings in your write ups..

    Just wondering!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nice one, Chandni :) I couldn't help smiling throughout and telling myself often - Oh yes! That happened with us too !! :D

    Cheers,
    Me

    ReplyDelete
  12. :)can so realte - endless topic of debate, my father has two main activities - watching the water pump fill up and gaurding the parking spaces, hilarious stuff.

    ReplyDelete
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