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Going down the drain

india Updated: Nov 20, 2011 11:53 IST

Hindustan Times
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Far away from the dust and bustle of our tropical existence are pristine paradises like Portland, Oregon. Life there is lived differently: the climate is salubrious, the environs immaculate. Cleanliness is a serious matter, so if you are a young man inebriated enough to mistake the city’s drinking water reservoir as a sewage treatment plant to pee into it, rest assured that your piss-adventure would be duly recorded on a security camera.

If you are a Portland resident, you can skip the trepidation while turning the tap on in the morning, as your civic authorities have already drained out the 8 million gallons of urine-tainted lake water, restoring you to the state before the big leak, sorry, lapse.

Not that this particular episode involving the making of water, and its unmaking, came cheap. The worth of the water flushed out, including the cleaning charges, was estimated to be a neat $28,000. Of course, one can always count on the sceptics and green geeks to cry foul, even when the authorities made it known that they were merely trying to address the ‘yuck’ factor that was bound to crop up. The damp squibs, however, would have none of it and kept insisting that any water body would contain excrement and carcasses of marine and amphibian creatures, and that such wastage of freshwater was a criminal act.

Rather than remonstrating with the Portland authorities, a better idea would be to bring them to India. They would discover that our tanks, rivers and lakes exist solely as a vehicle into which others can disgorge the unclean. Not only do all kinds of human offal, household waste and industrial effluents make their way to bodies that also supply drinking water, a significant number among us take dips to wash away our sins in the flow. Our guess is that since the Portlanders wouldn’t be able to drain our land dry, they would end up preferring to immerse in the bilge-water.