Scene I: In one corner of the world, it’s a peak summer midday and scorchingly hot. The woman looked at her empty bucket. Sweat from her forehead dripped into it. Her six odd hours of waiting in a serpentine queue for the drinking water tanker landed her back to the same status – no water until the tanker came next time. Like her the other women and children lined up with their buckets and pots. Several pairs of eyes glued, without a blink, toward the end of the curve of the muddy road. A feeble honk or a minor vibration of tires on the road made them stand-at-ease taking their position to handle the battle.
Parched lips, dusty clothes, crying children with dehydration, and growling stomachs had become part of the lives of these people.
After hearing the announcement about the water tanker arrival for the next day nightmares of missing the tanker, sleep eluded her in the night.
By six in the morning she stood in the line rubbing her droopy eyes. Now the time was almost two hours past noon and there was no sign of the damn ramshackle tanker – out of which 30% of the water drained down the road through cracks s or sloshed out of the uncovered top of the tanker. Thoughts of hungry kids at home crossed her mind and she pressed her lips tight.
The tanker was coming almost after four days. Thank God, it was at least coming – she looked at the silvery sky. If the tanker didn’t come today, no drinking water at home. The only way to get some drinking water was to walk five miles to the nearest well and fetch. Water was at least needed for drinking. Bathing, washing, and even cooking weren’t the priority now.
The litany of raspy honks of the tanker consumed children’s cry for hunger and exhaustion. The tanker arrived. Suddenly everyone in the line wanted to be first. The somewhat peaceful atmosphere turned into a war zone. They jabbed each other with elbows, knocked the next person down, yelled and pulled hairs. Irate adults dragged the children, who were passing through the crowd looking for the parents, to the sides.
Ultimately, no one got what they wanted – a bucket of drinking water. The driver decided to leave because he failed to control the frenzied crowd. The brawl continued, leaving the woman perplexed and helpless.
Could you believe this whole battle was just for a bucket of drinking water?
Well, the story is far different in other part of the world. Let’s see.
Scene II: A beautiful ranch styled home perched on the coast of a sun drenched beach. Well manicured lawns laced with spring seasonal flowering beds made the place dreamy. Looked like the sprinklers enjoyed ultimate freedom with no control over them. The water was overflowing making the flowerbeds swim. Excess water gushed down the gutter.
“Honey, there is a small speck of mud on the rim. Please hose it down until it’s gone,” Mom ordered.
Dad obliged her with hosing down the entire vehicle, for a small dash of mud, again for another ten minutes.
In the backyard kids enjoyed the weekend thoroughly. They sprayed water at each other from the hose connected to the tap. The boy dropped the hose on the ground and went inside the house to play his video game. The little girl gave a lavish bath to her toys using the hose. Water flooded down the slopes of the backyard. Mom discussed the “ladies night out dinner” arrangements with her friend on the phone – had no time to supervise and tell kids not to waste water.
Grandma in the kitchen washed dishes while watching the TV. Some of the scenes in the soap touched her heart so much that she forgot about closing the tap and opened her tear ducts. Tears and water competed with each other – Ms. Tap Water won the race of speed and wastage.
The water wasted in the house could have provided drinking water to the lady (in scene 1) who stood in the line for nothing and for her whole village for a few weeks, at least.
It’s a truth my dear friends, these scenarios are my personal experiences. With due respect to everybody, I have to say that I witnessed how the water was being wasted in some societies and on contrary, in others, people toil for a bucket of drinking water. Water is more precious than any other wealth. I myself, as a child in India, faced acute water shortage. My memories are fresh with missing my school just to fetch water.
Please promote water conservation lest nature is going to give us the taste of our own medicine. For more interesting details, amazing facts, and how to get involved in water conservation please check this website: http://water.org/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q54a4PCV9Ac . Please don’t skip watching this video.