Fire in the well !

There was this professor in college. He taught us Operations Research. A small man who used to correct papers with that big scrawl that i always thought was an attempt to cover his ‘ineptitude’. I am sure he has more charitable words of recognition for me. And of course, i dreaded his class.
One day, just he was distributing the question paper of an internal test, i was girding my loins. I mean, i had prepared. Real hard. And was awaiting the paper. Just as he was all set to distribute the question papers, he tipped a jar of water over the question paper stack. Quickly retrieving the papers with a flourish, he proceeded to distribute a wet set of papers to the class.

“So there, a watered down version !” , he said.

I flunked that exam. And to this day, think, there was something in the water.

Yes. Water. I love water. I treasure water. Every other living summer there has been an impending water scarcity. Or real time scarcity. And then, somehow, the other seasons clamoured to desist from giving the summer a bad name. And it became an all season thing.

We are just far too many people and too less water. And the too many people, haven’t been thinking about the far too less water for a far too long time ! Well, the water scarcity has reached the Mumbai shoreline as well. And boy, you have to pay for water these days !

The numerous water tankers (driven by those ordinary men with delusory thoughts that their wheel drives a Mclaren Mercedes and the Mumbai road is a Formula one race track) are proof enough !

And that they do ‘day and night’ service is double proof. Altough, i must confess that ‘self water supplier’ unnerved me a little. I went around checking what this ‘self water supplier’ meant, just in case. The answers varied, but did not come close to my fears. So.

And these impeccable ordinary men and their ‘self water supplier’ tagline, amongst other things, got me started. I resolved that i would speak to as many people in the neibhourhood and educate them about the need to conserve water. With that firm resolve, i stepped outside.

There. Right there. Was this kid who was emptying his water bottle in the alleyway. My antennae screamed, ‘opportunity’. So, i thought i’d get my practice going. After being nice to him I told him about the need to conserve water, and thought that the ‘fear of hunger’ would get him thinking.

So with a hushed voice i told him, ‘we may not have enough water. Even for food. Your mom cant cook food and you’ve got to go hungry”, i said. And mentally pumped my fist like Boris Becker after executing a neat unplayable backhand cross court volley !

And then, to my dismay i saw the boys eyes brighten. I knew there was something wrong. He just said, “Really?!?. Yay Yay Yay…If Mamma cant cook food then, we can all have Pani Puri. They use only mineral water’

My investigations lead me here.

My Water Conservation agenda has since been bristling. Battered down. But not watered down. Yet.

And by the way, that Pani Puri left me stirred. And shaken too. The agenda survives. For there is a fire in the well !

7 thoughts on “Fire in the well !

  1. Kavi I think you’re brilliant. Really. I’m awake at 1:20 am from a nightmare and have found wonderful comfort catching up on your blog. Brilliant.

    I too have that bug to play. Especially with carts. Becoming a mother hasn’t rid me of it. I get it from my father. I once left my 2 year old boy at the laundry mat with my father while my mother and I stepped over to the supermart. The have carts at the laundry mat… fun carts for wheeling around your clothes from the washers to the dryers and then to the tables for folding. And I knew exactly what my father was thinking when he waved us off. I turned and said “no pushing in the cart” but smiled. He feigned shock, smirked, and then with pouting eyes said, “really?”

    Again, you’re brilliant.

  2. So sorry, I just realized my long winded comment was mostly related to something you posted two posts back… just authenticates how middle of the night I am. Keep up your conservation push, it’s something that needs to happen everywhere.

  3. Swatantra says:

    That’s great! I really like the answer by the boy that they will use mineral water for Pani puri. reminded me of few cute answers siddharth gives many a time!

    Cute pictures!

  4. Ganesh says:


    The title of this post of yours took me back in time. It concerns the organisation you work with and I was told of this particular incident by my father.

    It so happened that the factory had Xylene/toulene (both are solvents heavily used in your industry and they have a very low flash point)tank right next to the well and the tank containing the solvent had developed a crack. Due to this the solvent had started seeping into the well and settled on top of the water. Due to the sun blazing directly into the well the solvent caught fire which got noticed by alert personnel.

    They called the fire brigade telling them that the well had caught fire. The firemen were flabbergasted and thought that the callers were playing a joke at their expense and roundly abused them. Another call and a round of explanations later they understood the matter and rushed to the spot.

    Imagine somebody calling the firemen with the words “Jaldi aao, hamare baudi mein aag lagi hui hai”.

  5. Braja says:

    Water water everywhere 🙂 Hello from Puri, Kavi! 🙂

  6. Jeevan says:

    U did a good attempt kavi, converse with that kid to know his through on water scarcity. I too think what that wet exam paper’s trick!

  7. Kavi says:

    Christine : I read your comment using my mobile ! Early in the morning. Half asleep. And i was almost fully awake for the half asleep me thought you told me that this blog gave you nightmares !!!!


    Thank you ! And glad to note that it comforts you.

    And the pushing around for everything…well, i am working on it !!


    Swatantra : Ah ! Kids !! They know what to say. Exactly. Everytime. And they have some energy for it too !

    I can imagine your fun time with Siddarth !!

    Ganesh : Such stories make the place where i work !! Thanks for sharing !! And it indeed is one story !!

    Braja :: Hello to the Puri lady !! I envy you ! How is Lord Jagannath and his beach !?!

    Have a fun time !!

    Jeevan : Thanks mate. Will keep up the effort !!


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