It was in the semester that I took the Ecology course. The course that brings all the bad news full circle – of
climate change, depleting natural resources’ and human vice. I remember our
lecturer telling us with a sarcastic smile drawn across his face; that we
should try to do the least we can to ‘conserve’, especially about not letting
the ‘taps run wild’.
It was that semester when the water pump in our house gave way and we had to go twelve days without water
supply. Those were difficult days; when being the only one with the big problem
made it harder to bear.
Coming back from classes and having to fetch water from the reservoir which was opened only once a day for
an hour was the worst part of the ordeals. Buckets had to be filled and carried
four stories up and that too until there was enough water to suffice until 8:00
pm the next day. Having a family of seven members didn’t make it easier.
At night when tossing and turning with the back-ache that was stronger than my weariness, the sound of
overflowing water from the tanks on the roof of an ignorant neighbor would
wreck havoc with my nerves. But it’s not their fault our pump gave out on us right?
Isn’t it what the big polluters say when the impact of their CO2
emissions results in holes in our ozone layers and poisonous clouds and smog
that have travelled over half a world away to clog our lungs? It’s not their
skies. Besides they are more efficient, after all the big polluters are also
the big producers…my neighbor’s pump is more efficient; it overflows the tank
with water that surpasses the roof top and onto the streets. The streets with
blocked drains, all the rubbish and all the water. Wasn’t there a poem; ‘water,
water everywhere, but not a drop to drink’…
Who exactly wrote it? Maybe that’s how the nights were passed, trying to find the creator of that rhyme,
well so did the semester and come another course called ‘Development Studies’
which taught; ‘developing countries follow policies that are crisis-driven’…
nowadays my ears prick up at the sound of flowing water. No matter what I’m
doing, I’ll always catch a tap running wild…
I am still rendered sleepless some nights due to the sound of the same ignorant neighbors’ over flowing water
tank. Hoping someday his pump will bail out on him and he will eventually learn
to manage his water resources’’ driven by the knowledge that nothing lasts forever.
Is it ironic really? Or is it just life’s lessons; like ‘tiny drops of dew makes an ocean’, a singular
problem makes a world calamity. Because one day the big producers would also
find the bigger holes over their skies and it would be too late to act.
We could do better, looking at the greater picture first, by scrutinizing the tiny details we could have
better conscience, be more considerate, not sarcastic. Then maybe ‘World peace’
would not be dismissed as a bad joke, cooked up at the grand finale of a beauty