From Stone Age to Water Wars: The Way We Live/Lie

By Pratishtha Dobhal


You need to take a step backward to move forward. The very motion of a stride entails lifting one leg after the other, in order to allow oneself to experience the kinesis of life. As of now, I don’t want to get into the over-arching implications of movement in itself (although I am certain that’s going to be pretty exciting to explore), but focus on the ‘prime’ that fosters settlement. Without further complicating the beginning of the end (you’ll find out soon enough why I am talking of the end already) let me put it like this.

Imagine this (it actually happened):

Approx 3.3 Million Years Ago
Man/Woman way way back wanted to settle down after running from one cactus bush to the other. They found land and food, yet they still couldn’t call any place home. The constant shifting was making it pretty hard to make babies, start a family, and basically get a move on in life. Then one fine day, they found a river. Relief and happiness washed over them, and they lived happily ever after.— ‘Then’

Middle Years (the giant leaps): Repeat, Consume, Repeat…

Man/Woman cannot find any water to settle around. They are staring at the cracks on the ground wondering how long it will take before the cracks become the crevices that swallow them whole. Can’t say much about the food either—they don’t know whether it’s real or plastic, land—diminished, destroyed, sinking, and wasted. If this is an age, what’s the point of living?  —Now   


It’s taken us sometime to get here, but atleast now we know that all the fantasy science fiction we consumed as partial truths are real and tangible everyday horrors.

I remember watching Kevin Costner’s 1995 adventure sci-fi film Waterworld where Costner distils his liquid gold (urine) to gulp it down as water (not out of choice but because of the lack of fresh water). Of course as things stand under the name of sci-fi, it’s usually a dystopian setting where all this magic and horror seems to take place. Fast forward 14 years into the future when the snowcaps had still not melted but you had pee distil devices doing the rounds in the market –hello world, hello future!

That’s not a crawl, but a leap into the future that’s moving at a pace we don’t seem to fully understand but have embraced nonetheless. Maybe because we are a privileged lot who hasn’t known what fighting to be treated as human means, we are so privileged and taken in by discovering ourselves that we’ve lost sight of what really matters. Consumed by the distraction of everything glossy we want to glide past major or minor speed-bumps… because come on…who has the bloody time?

Everyday disparities, everyday bubbles.

It’s perfectly alright to still not be affected by your own state in ruins—to live in Mumbai, in Maharashtra and to have Latur some 474kms, in Maharashtra, wasting away.

It happens—sh*& happens, right?

Latur’s death will still not affect you or me ‘cause no celebrity came out of there. It won’t make the headlines, no one in a position to make a difference (I mean anyone who has money and resources/power—politicans, businessmen, filmstars, sportstars) is going to part with his/her gold for even temporary relief without an agenda.

Somewhere between the Palaeo and now Apocalyptic stage we lost empathy. We expanded our horizons and shunned out our human. We became deeply myopic.

When bottled water manufacturing companies won’t have pristine pure water to source and package for you or me, will Kardashians make it all better? Erm… maybe.

The Gaza strip will be unlivable by 2020; last year the drought in Sao Paolo (also known as the ‘City of Drizzle’) was so terrible that residents tried drilling basement floors to access underground water. In California last year, officials had said the State had entered its fourth year of drought, and here, at home, in India the World Bank predicts a turbulent future by 2020.

It’s anyway already begun.

The Capital’s water supply was cut off almost a month ago by a select few class acts from the neighboring state; when Mumbai is not busy sinking or drowning, the city is told to take it easy on the IPL matches, and mind you, no water contaminating MNC plants or global giants sponsoring and sucking the country dry are penalized. The matches shall continue, albeit the distress of hosting it in a crises ridden state. And it’s not like the government won’t make money while all this water hoopla is going down. The future of investment looks bright with countries like Canada, Belgium, Israel, United States, and good ‘ol China seeing investment opportunities worth 13 billion dollar in the domestic water sector.

There will be another train to another Latur, or maybe even a branded chopper next time.

The future of branding will always stay bright and democracy will definitely save the day.

All will be okay, we’ve still got another four years to prove the World Bank wrong and censor the shit out of all those climate change activists.


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