As far as miracles go, turning brackish sea water sweet is pretty neat. Regardless of the scientific explanation being doled out — excess freshwater flowing from the Mahim river into the sea — the thousands thronging to Mahim Creek near the beachfront in Mumbai would rather see the ‘transubstantiation’ as the handiwork of the late Haji Maqdoom Baba, whose shrine is in the area. Mass hysteria, of course, is only a term to explain the hordes of believers filling plastic bottles and drinking the water. But the real miracle will be if those glugging the ‘miraculous’ water manage to escape succumbing to serious gastric illness.
The water of Mahim Creek, sweetened or otherwise, is filthy and would scandalise not only the likes of Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment but any right-thinking, correct-drinking person. Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and officials of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai have already appealed to people not to drink the water. Industrial waste is not the best ingredient for a miracle. But telling this to goggle-eyed people facing even more goggle-eyed TV cameras is as worthwhile as convincing people that a Ganesh idol sipping milk is caused by suction and not divine lactose tolerance.
Fortunately, rumours of the sweetened water turning back to its original brackish form may stop a future surge. Now we only wait for the real miracle of no one complaining of nausea, etc.