Sunday, August 17, 2008


"Now who be ye' would cross Loch Gyle, this dark and stormy weather?
Oh! I'm the Chief of Ulva's Isle, and this Lord Ullins Daughter."

I looked around for them but they were nowhere to seen. Perhaps it was even darker today. I looked up at the sky which appeared like a grey canvas with streaks of silver paint made by thin, thick and medium sized brushes. Out of modesty the artist had not stepped forward to take the praise and let his work speak for itself.
Thunder overpowered the frantic cries. As the bolts of lightning appeared everywhere, I wished they would hit the ground and transfer the energy to any surface except the cold flesh of my body. Maybe if I survived this storm I would see the manifestation of this energy in some other form on Earth. If only I could row myself out of the flood…if only I could find a shore...
I clung to anything that would prevent me from drowning as I watched ground floors turn into basements. As the rain got thicker, I lost sight of what remained of my house, my neighborhood, my city.
I loved playing in the rain. It was the other way round today. Rain was playing a very cruel game with me.
And then in what seemed like a lifetime, I felt whirling down into the confines of an ocean-a deep ocean like that of a mind in turmoil. It felt as if I was floating in clouds or the clouds were hovering around my head. A white hazy figure drifted towards me-having perfectly shaped dew drops for eyes, two streaks of lightning for lips and an aura that spelled doom. I wondered if the rain god had personally come to drown me.

I blurted out-“Why do you send so much rain?”
“A cloud for each tap left open.”
Judging by my startled expression, he did the honor of answering briefly, something my English teacher always demanded and I failed to deliver.
“I send only the amount of water you humans waste.”

I pretended that I did not understand. He sensed it and said, “You humans understand it better than me. You know how to squander what is scarce, how to fritter away what is valuable and how to disregard what deserves utmost reverence. You call yourself the most intelligent species on earth and prove to be the contrary.”

The truth struck me hard in my face. He continued, “Let’s take a boat down your memory.”

I was back at the place I had been before I had met him. It was a sunny day. I barely recognized my friends in their multi-colored faces. It was the Hoodoo festival of Holi. I saw myself tumbling buckets of colored water on passersby. We laughed in glee at the dazzled victims. The merriment continued as we aimed water balloons on each other, not to forget the simple piston-shaft mechanisms through which we shot jets of water.

The boat wobbled and sent a shiver down my spine. The next moment we were inside my house. I was brushing my teeth as a mark of brushing away my slumber to start the day. The sound of running water was deafening. I saw a tap running in the sink, a bucket over flowing with water , someone watering the plants in the lawn and someone playing Holi with the car, this time with clean water. The amplified sounds were interrupted by a song- saawan main lag gayi aag...My friends were back. We were sitting at a local restaurant eating chicken. I wondered what this had to do with wasting water. Once again, the rain god, judging by my blank expression, spoke- Name the industry which consumes the largest amount of water.
“Textile?” I asked. He remained silent. “Petrochemical?” I gave another shot. “Oh! Yes I know. Pharmaceutical.” No reaction again. I went on naming every industry I had heard of including IT. I felt like a fool as he smirked at my answers.

“The meat industry”, came the reply after the most mortifying silence. “To produce 1 calorie of meat it takes 100 times the amount of water that it takes to produce 1 calorie of grain. Eating one kilogram of meat is equivalent to a three-hour car ride while the lights are left on at home; equivalent to 36.4 kg carbon dioxide.”
I shook my head in denial. The smirk returned to his face as he said, “Sounds complex, doesn’t it? Do not deny what you do not understand.” And spoke no more.
I felt as if the chicken was stuck in my throat. I saw myself picking a bottle of Cola when he pointed at the same and said-that’s the second biggest water polluting industry but does anyone complain?
The boat gave a loud shudder at this. The lashing waves gave way to a lash of conscience. I knew I was going to drown-if not in the flood then surely in a pool of guilt.
“Let’s visit another place you’ve heard of but haven’t seen.”
In another part of my city, a family wept silently. A lady stared hopelessly at a rusted tap as a toddler with parched lips looked intently at her. His father lamented that the tube wells didn’t work; that the crop would dry for the land was arid.
At this the rain god said to me

Rain does not fall in vain
For it takes away their pain
But all you do is disdain
For you can see no gain
So do not complain
And save the waters that remain

I reached the shore. I could hear my mother frantically crying out my name . She sprinkled water on my face and shook me out of the delirium. As I opened my eyes, she offered me a glass of water...


Rohit said...

they say talking about environment issues is cliche..but we are not talkin enough about it..good to see some people are sensitive to their surroundings and want to write about it..good work..

Divya said...

:) thanks
infact we can encourage ppl to write abt it by making it the next topic fr the blog..