Water, Water

I’m ashamed to say that it has taken us no time to get back to our “normal” life in San Francisco.  I’m primarily referring to our use of water in general, and hot water in particular.  Just two days ago, in Chennai, I was quite proud of the fact that I was able to take a full “bath” (including washing my hair) with a third of a small bucket of water.

In most parts of Chennai, clear (clean?), municipal water is delivered one hour a day, usually early in the morning.  (Unless you live in the same area as the Chief Minister, in which case you get water 24 hours a day.)  In some areas, it is delivered via pipes.  In others, it is delivered by tankers – those who don’t have sumps or water storage tanks available (usually on the roof of their building) have to collect the water in jars and buckets.  Everyone buys drinking water.

During our first stay in Chennai, we stayed with Param, who lives in Poes Garden, behind the Chief Minister and at the other end of the same road as Rajnikanth, the biggest movie star in South India.  No water issues there.  We still made sure to take bucket baths, and cold ones at that (the only place we ever take warm baths is at Dinesh’s, in Bangalore).  I can usually bathe with 3/4 of a bucket of water.

At Smita’s house in Alwarpet, where we spent our last one and a half days in India, the water comes at 7am.  She usually collects the equivalent of 6 large buckets of water for the day, so with more of us staying there, I was extra careful of the amount of water I used.

Yesterday, I luxuriated in a long, hot shower after getting home from the airport, justifying it because I hadn’t bathed in over 24 hours, most of it spent on an airplane.  This morning, after briefly debating the need for a shower less than 24 hours after my last one, I again succumbed to the temptation.  Tomorrow, I hope I have the discipline to turn off the water while I shampoo and soap.

Should I get a petroleum-based plastic bucket and cup?


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