Thursday, April 09, 2009

Water, water everywhere

I grew up in Madras. It is common knowledge that we had very severe water problems. I learnt at a very young age that we needed to conserve water. Maybe not as much from an environmental perspective, but definitely from a "use as little water as necessary" perspective. It used to amaze many of my north indian classmates that I used about half a bucket of water to have a bath everyday. They, then, seemed very proud of the fact that they used two buckets.

Old habits die hard. Even now I find myself shouting at the household help when she leaves the tap open while washing dishes or while washing the bathroom. It doesn't seem to make any difference that I say the same thing over and over again.
At work, I find that people don't bother to close the tap when they're done using the wash basin. Is it indifference? But it's the same group of people send out mails to everyone asking them to join Earth Hour because it is good for the environment. What hypocrites!

Every morning, on my way to work, I cross a certain Delhi Jal Board office. I never fail to read the message at the entrance:

Dadi banate samay paani ko behne na de.
(Do not keep the water running while shaving.)

This message is accompanied by a picture of a man shaving with the water running. And the entire picture is crossed out with a bold red "X".

Nothing wrong with any of this. It is a good message that I really think everyone needs to learn. A lesson that people in Madras learnt the hard way. I wonder if everyone must wait until it is too late. But the ironicaly, even the DJB guys don't seem to care about their own message. I guess it's all just nice to see on a poster or billboard, because I've noticed that whenever a water lorry goes from point A to point B, it does so in a very Hansel and Gretel sort of way. Dropping enough water on the way so it can find its way back home.

I suppose this is just one more thing that will remain beyond my comprehension!


Pretty Woman said...

...The water lorries drop all the water on the way, I wonder what actually gets there!

It really bothers me to see so much water wasted!

pRiyA said...

Ah! I love the spirited indignation with which you write.

Sometimes I wonder if everything to do with conservation or the Environment has to become trendy or fashionable (like Earth hour), for people to just take mild notice at all.
Yes, we are indifferent. And yes, I too have wondered about those blessed watertankers spilling so much water along the way.

Destination Infinity said...

Is there any problem with closing the lid of the tankers? I always wondered why they don't! When I came out of chennai, I was wondering how most of the houses can be without the wells/borewells in Bangalore!!

Destination Infinity

sra said...

Ah, so you've posted here!

I used to be able to wash my (short) hair and bathe in a single bucket of water, in hostel days in TN. Now every time I use more than that, I tell myself I should try that again - it seems impossible because I haven't tried it and it's been a long time.

And as Priya says, I do wonder if certain things have to be a fad to work - but I guess if a socially visible group takes it up, it's more likely to be picked up in the media (esp by the gushing TV channels of today) than it is when a really committed group that's not as good-looking or media-savvy.

I remember how girls in my girls' college who couldn't care less about classical Indian music would dress up to the nines and go off to a Spic-Mackay lecdem if it was being held at a boys' college - it was funny, but maybe, just maybe, one or two did pick up a thing or two.

Malesh Ponnusamy said...

"earth hour" is just another act of corporates trying to be socially responsible and the common man following it as a fashion fad sporting t-shirts that read out the message more of a trend rather than true action. Why can't we shut down pubs and discotheques that gulp so much watts of power to entertain? I am sure we can do without it (just like how ppl in TN manage with half-a-bucket of water for bath). Why make a common man switch off his fridge and lights for a hour when the businesses such as entertainment industry and sports consume more than they have to? Why should we have D/N or night cricket matches so that more people can turn their TV sets on???