It was a weekend getaway with colleagues at work, away from the city. The activities of the day wore down on me as I made my way back home. The train journey back home lasted for a full two hours, much of which was spent sleeping. It was only when I got off at the train station at my stop in Suburban Mumbai that the enormity of summer hit me. Hard. I was parched, my throat felt like a dry piece of land that was cracked with the harshness of nature. I hailed a ride back home and realised, to my dismay that I didn’t have any water on me. The next step was obvious; look for a store that sells bottled water. I kept the money ready and was prepared to bark instructions to the driver the moment I spotted such a shop. Ten minutes on the ride and said shop was spotted. I hastily bought the bottle of cool, sweet water and paid the shopkeeper a sum that was paltry in exchange of quenching my thirst. As I got back in my ride and tipped the bottle to soothe my dry throat, a realisation hit me. That money is power, one that is the means to acquiring a necessity as bare as drinking water.
This elixir, is an essential of life, but is one of the most commercialised that exist today. Closer home, several parts of my very own city do not have access to water. And by water I mean clean, potable and readily available. They do not have the luxury of simply turning on the tap or faucet and filling a glass or two. No, they must wake up at the crack of dawn and fill in whatever containers and utensils that they can find, their daily requirement of water. Said activity is seldom available at homes, for more often than not, it is a community pipeline where ladies line up to get their fill.
We are all privy to the burden that little ones in countries across Africa bear as they walk barefoot on the hot, blazing desert sand, balancing jars and cans of water. Braving the heat and losing their childhood to blisters, sunstrokes and sores.There are countless people at this very instant, in different parts of the world fighting for their chance at survival. Walking miles and miles in search of what I simply had to open my wallet and pay. This realisation alone humbled me, for whatever little that I have been blessed with is a luxury for countless people the world over.