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  • Komal Jain

The water comrade siblings

Hi, I had a dream about the pots. Do you remember them? No, not the clay one.


No, no, not the ones with taps. The plastic ones.

The ones with a neck?

Yes, the colourful plastic ones.


You know, I always wondered why mum didn't get the ones with decorative patterns. I was always jealous of our neighbours. They had the ones with gradients. Some even had the round metal pots. My favourite pieces were the metal pots with lids. I always thought they would work best if they had wheels below them or can connect to pipes to transport water.


Anyway, back to the dream. Actually, dreams because the same thing has been recurring like a hamster in a wheel. It was midnight and the clock ticked endlessly. I couldn't sleep. I rarely had a full night sleep as a kid. Blaming the clock for this was easy so I did that. I looked around, you were fast asleep in your typical weird cyclic position. I dreamt awake that night. The water gushed into the hall in no time and I only stared at it. I could've have woken you up or mum or dad. I guess my body was as paralysed as my mind. Soon, the entire house was engulfed by water. Our Sony TV was floating. The saree that G used to hold for sleeping, was tangled around dadi's neck because of the water. You all couldn't breathe. And I only lay on the floor mattress staring at you.


Soon, a sound burst into my ears. The alarm, as always! Perhaps it disturbed the water too as it flowed out of our house, like it had never been there. Slowly, everything came back to its original position.


Do you then remember mum shaking you, waking you up? She was holding the three pots- green, and two orange ones. She gave you two, and me one. I don't think I was asked how I was already awake at 4 am. But you, almost mechanically, got up and went for the stairs. I think, even now, you could do it in your sleep. I followed you down the stairs as I always did.


On the lane, there were many more women, and kids, all waiting to fill the pots. We looked at how everyone had more than three to four pots. We stole a glance as if wondering whether there would be any water in the tap by the time our turn comes. Alas! Even if water was cut off for two days, for miraculous reasons, there was always enough to fill our three pots. So we did.


This was not the end. Remember how tiny and scrawny I was? Ugh- it was a task to make you help me carry my pot. But you always carried them in the end. Well, you did spill one-fourth of it on our way to the second floor apartment. I guess, something was better than nothing. You were my water comrade.


Recently, I have been dreaming about these ritualistic actions a lot. I live on my own now and the water flows 24*7. I get good sleep, unlike the nine-year-old me. There is also enough money to buy bisleri cans, if the water ever ran out. It's just.. I feel I have betrayed myself. Hidden a puzzle piece of my life, from myself and from others, knowingly or unknowingly. I had forgotten how long a way we have come in the matter of thirteen years. The past few years, in the quest for looking to do bigger things, new things, thinking of the larger problems in the world- I never empathised with our journey.


Now, the pots keep returning, as if to remind me to be easy on myself. As if asking me to breathe. I am also told not to take the full weight of the invisible pot of life on my shoulders. Slow and steady.



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