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REALTY SPEAK

Water, water everywhere

How much water is enough for an individual per day? Experts will quote the latest surveys and say that it varies from country to country and city to city, which everyone knows anyway. It's one Sintex tank for a family of four, say many houseowners who have let out portions of their house for rent. And then begins the quarrel over the size of the tank.

My wife wants 24-hour supply. So does the maid-servant. Any argument on this issue leads to only one result: more consumption of water. “Why should there be any rationing of water supply” asks my wife. “This is ridiculous. There's a terrible shortage of water in Bangalore, and in other cities too. Water comes to Bangalore from a great distance. Borewells are going dry. You have to conserve water,” I explained the situation.

“I am not responsible for the problem,” she replied.

“For God's sake! Don't you know what JFK said? Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” I said exasperatedly. “If you are so fond of JFK, why did you marry me?” she replied.

The maid-servant who comes in to wash the vessels opens the tap and then starts a conversation with my wife. Water flows out copiously from the tub containing the dishes but the two are too busy to notice it.

After ten minutes, when the servant begins explaining who gifted her the sari she was wearing that day, I get annoyed and clear my throat loudly.

“Swallow a Saridon,” my wife shouts and gets back into gossip mode. Determined not to give up, I fold the newspaper and say “Tell the servant not to waste water.”

“Why do you interfere when we women are talking? Be manly and do something else,” my wife replies. “Saar! I can understand Englees!. My daughter is in convent,” giggles the maid-servant.

Half-a-tanker of water would have flown out by now. “Tell you husband to switch on the motor” the maid-servant tells my wife and continues with the story of how her husband comes home late, fully drunk, and about her neighbour who is having a secret affair.

An hour later, after the maid-servant has left, my wife starts yelling that the maid-servant has not done the dishes properly and starts the task afresh.

She also urges me to join in.

“Don't let the water run when you are checking if the vessels have any stain or leftovers stuck to them,” I firmly advised my wife. “Don't preach to me. God created water, not you. Water is not your property,” was the reply. “Any way, don't embarrass me when the maid-servant is around. Don't advise me to save water,” she added.

“Why?” I asked.

“She thinks you have a poor salary. She also calls you a ‘tension party.'”

S. VENKATESH BHAT

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