They all mean the same, without which none of us can survive.
Going down the memory lane, I remember drinking water directly from faucets in my elementary school days. The water tasted sweet and quenched my parched throat after playing in sweltering humidity. There were no water coolers or filters, and other kids and I never complained.
During summers, mom filled an earthen pot, matka, with water and put a piece of alum inside it to clean water of impurities. People made water booths or pyayu during peak summers in the middle of busy streets where pedestrians could get cool water free of cost. The priests in the temples sprinkled holy water and gave some to drink as prasadam.
During monsoons, I remember making paper boats with my cousins and leaving them to float/drown in the rainwater. I also experienced floods and seeing real boats in the water to rescue people.
But as time went by, water from faucet came only during the morning and evening hours. Mom had to fill pots and buckets for our daily use. We started using a filter treatment that purified water from the faucet.
When I moved to South India for work, my domestic help would stand in line and fill colorful pots and buckets for me early in the morning, from a shared faucet in the neighborhood. She would carry the containers to my apartment balancing on her head and one in hand. Two buckets for my bath and rest for washing and household use. I used water cautiously as I could not take it for granted. This was a light bulb experience to understand that this resource is limited.
Now, many good ideas come to me in the shower and at times I lose track of time. But then it dawns on me that I’ve probably used over ten buckets of water which was my ten days worth of bath in India, and I step out of the shower full of guilt. Because of the ease of access to clean water we don’t give much thought to this limited resource on earth.
When I look back, I miss the simple joy of drinking directly from the faucets like my school days. But I seek comfort in the fact that my kids will never miss it. Sadly, because they have never experienced this lovely phenomenon.
My kid’s school has provided a checklist that kids can do this month to celebrate Earth day and I love this simple effort. Thanks to the checklist, my child ate radish ( trying out a new food item is on the checklist), he reminded me to use recycled bags for grocery shopping, helped me plant few chili pepper plants, and picked-up somebody’s else’s trash in the school.
Yay! Now I just wish the school had a similar checklist for ‘House Day’ too. How I’d love my kid to pick up his toys after he’s done or switch off the lights before leaving the room!
Earth is changing because of our habits!
Water is changing because of our habits!
And I feel it is our responsibility to care and nurture these precious resources so that our future generations can savor and create memories just like you and me.
You do not want to wake up one day to find no water in your faucets. Let this Earth Day be a reminder for us to be mindful while using this precious resource- WATER.