The Tale of the Leaking Tap

It trickled on the glazed floor of the bathroom cubicle, it sometimes would jettison in thick spurts, it would flow and flow, with an urgency to match the drought of the world, the thirst of the parched throats. Except there was no drought, no thirst to be quenched, no cracked grounds or drooping sheaf of paddy, there was the smooth, inclined and disinfected floor of the bathroom and the bottomless hole at the corner sucking in all the runaway stream, like a black hole at the edge of the universe.

During the monsoon, the pitter-patter of the raindrops is music to my ears. The monotone of the steady drizzle falling on the asbestos sheet, like a growing drum roll that will accelerate into cankerous heavy poundings in less than hour. How we rejoice in seeing water, that basic necessity of life, that which forms ninety percent of the human body, seventy percent of the earth’s atmosphere, one of the most elementary chemical compounds in our world; making its way, running its course, splashing and going down the drains?

There is infinite ecstasy in wasting. In the letting the world know that the pinching thriftiness of the society does not matter to you anymore. Saving, constantly hankering after limited resources, being penny-wise is so bourgeois, so common, and so un-adventurous. I want the thrill, the risk, the precipice, the unknown. I don’t care if I am left penniless tomorrow, I have today and I will spend it the way I want to. Today is all that matters. Carpe diem! Viva la Vida! 

There is something very romantic about careless abandon.

There is also something very sensitive about not caring. There is something downright cruel, heartless and foolish about not seeing the larger picture, contextualizing it and seeing things in relation to other worlds, other people and other situations not privileged enough to be in the same unconcerned, abandoned, easy-going state as us. Every drop wasted is every drop denied. Every second, minute, hour, day; I have denied so many others the ‘privilege’ of nourishing their cracked, parched throats.

Replace ‘water’ in the above sentence with ‘food’, ‘electricity’, (perhaps even ‘seat in the university’?)

I am sitting here, typing this article on my laptop. Pondering over my little concerns, taking occasional sips of water, munching on my sandwich I got from the mess in my hostel, under the whirling fan dispelling the heat and discomfort of the unbearable summer in Delhi, as I get up to read a bit of Eliot and Seth, some Said and DuBois, some this and that, and ponder on my library due dates, as I sit here in my hostel room savoring the comforts of my student-academic-privileged life, I wonder how many were denied, so that I could have them all?

On the English channel, on the radio, it’s playing Frank Sinatra’s “Pennies from Heaven”:

Whenever it rains, it rains pennies from heaven,

Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?

You’ll find your fortune falling all over the town,

Make sure your umbrella is upside down!

The writer is a research-scholar in JNU, and works for The Informer.


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