Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

Oh well

| Updated on July 09, 2013 Published on July 09, 2013

Water woes: There is perennial shortage of water

Daily life was paralysed last month at my residence, as our well was, shall I say, not well. The water had a foul smell and no amount of tank cleaning did the trick and all signs pointed to some mix-up in the source that feeds the well. The good thing is that it all ended well.

Well done

In the city not many people have the luxury of having a well. Even as the front porch has cars lined up, the back-side of the apartments ends abruptly in a wall. Being in an independent house, where all the neighbours have also chosen to maintain status-quo, we have a well in the back-yard and a raised stone to washed clothes – another ancient relic from the forgotten past of 10 years ago.

The well in question has been a good one, never having dried out, even in the rainless years. Neither the Chennai heat nor the depleting ground water table level has been able to defeat the well which has kept us immune from water woes. When most of the city reels under water ration and wakes up early to collect water, we would simply turn on the motor with no fear of the motor choking with mud. In the worst years, we still managed to hang a pulley and get water as the water collected in a trickle, about a bucket in an hour. And we never bought water and the simple well has helped my father save many wads of currency that would have otherwise been soaked up by water lorries.

Well Being

So far, we never took part in the dry run for panic, even with monsoon many months away and water from neighbouring states being mirages. Our smirk vanished when the water developed strange smells and grey colour. It was decided to dredge the well and clear off all waste to get fresh water. This was easier said than done, as no one was ready to jump into a well, even for a handsome payment. Finally a person was found and after pacifying many spirits and importantly after a powerful motor drained out the water, the person entered the depths of the well.

When we were kids, the well dredger would find interesting household objects that have been ‘dropped’. Cups, spoons, soap boxes and clothing were the usual treasures found. Not this time. The dredger came up with nothing, not even dirty sand. He declared the well was clean, all in 5 minutes, got out and walked off with Rs 4,000. I guess well begun is immediately done.

Well wisher

The water was fine, as if by miracle. We could as well have tossed the money in the well and wished for it to heal itself. But the few days without water and having to buy water in cans made me realise what we have, but don’t value. We loosely say that ‘money was spent like water’, but probably soon a day will come when it is turned around - thanks to water shortage and inflation.

While we have the right to religious freedom and even right to education, we don’t have the right to water, which is quite basic. We pay heavily for drinking water without demanding government provide it. While floods ravage one part of the country, plants and even coconut trees are charred from want of water in the other.

The well is being a moat, protecting us from the water wars. What we have is not a wishing well, but still I wish everyone (a) well.

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Published on July 09, 2013
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