Thursday, August 23, 2007
Rain...blessing or a nightmare!?!
I love rain, but it is, indeed, painful to recall those dreadful thirteen days of last August, when the rich and resourceful inhabitants of a posh locality in Karachi lived a nightmare in the wake of the rather generous monsoon showers.
Yet, I am penning the whole experience yet again because the very people of that posh locality are again marooned, thanks to the recent rains and there is likelihood that the same fate awaits them as it did last year. The purpose is also to blow the whistle near the ears concerned which proved to be deaf as stone last year.
The crises began when the electricity was turned off for ‘protective reasons’. As the drizzle turned into a downpour, other basic amenities such as telephone, cable, water and eventually roads were cut off. In just three hours the entire area had turned into a dark eerie place, submerged in three to four feet high water and cut off from the rest of the world.
The foremost problem was of potable water. The underground tanks were inundated. Water tanker operators refused to supply water because of the flooded roads. The local officials of the city government made tall promises but to no avail.
Therefore, initially people had to make do with whatever water was available in their water tanks. Meticulous rationing was regimented. Bathing and cooking was minimised. Even drinking was restricted. Yet scarcity led to friction within the house and outside due to discomfort and deprivation.
As incidents of water theft from the rooftop tanks increased, so did the acrimony among old neighbours. Strict vigilance ensued. A new genre of theft – from private tanks – gained legitimacy under the (until then) judicially approved ‘doctrine of necessity’; water wars had started!
With the last drop of water running out, people began to look for other means. Thus came in the most dependable of all animals – the donkey! Soon the high-tech cellphones buzzed to book a donkey-cart laden with a water tank.
Poor donkeys, loaded with water containers, wearily trudged through dirty waters, which surprisingly made for a lovable sight. Adversity had changed aesthetics. Survival instinct had overcome sensibilities. All was fair in war.
Indeed, as the days passed by donkeys came to symbolise the only hope of survival. Ditched by their government, the marooned denizens gladly pinned all their hopes on these on the donkeis! And why not after all their redeemers were rustic Pathans and their donkeys! Not the KWSB, which was busy blaming the past rulers.
For these ‘enlightened’ people, it was a moment of truth. Here they were imploring a donkey cart water supplier for water. There the country was celebrating its 59th birthday with great fanfare. Here the people were cherishing the labour of a donkey or mules which ever on ethey could get their hands on, more than that of all the governments put together! There the ‘leaders’ of the past and present were receiving eulogies for bringing progress and prosperity to this land of pure.
As far as i was told when i was a kid, rain was supposed to be a blessing, but has our governmenet let rain BE a blessing??