Madam - my neighbourhood dryadYou can’t drink the water in the taps here, of course.

So we all have ‘packaged water’.

That’s purified in some manner so that it’s safe to drink. And is not to be confused with mineral water of the fancy variety. Packaged water is just not going to give you typhoid. Or at least, not in theory.

There’s also water that’s brought in trucks for topping up for washing and laundry. It’s not used everywhere, but with the housing boom, most of the natural aquifers have been drilled deep and the water table is falling. Big tower blocks either have a spring somewhere or truck it in.

Think of that – water being bused in for showers where hundreds of people live. It’s no wonder India is having a bit of a water crisis. Too much in some places and nowhere near enough in others; when your water table is changing that much, awful things are likely to happen.

Anyway, back to water in my home. They bus in water for the water feature in the landscaped bit – it’s very nice, but I do feel a bit guilty about it.

And as part of living here we all get packaged water delivered to the door by one of the small sinewy types that do all the heavy lifting round the place.

The sort of staff member asked to keep out of site in the basement. Ahem.

To get water, all that is in theory required, is a quick call to the maintenance office and water will appear ten minutes later.

This is, of course, not what happens – four or five calls are often needed. Each time, despite being to exactly the same person, there is a refreshing lack of memory about my other three requests.

Still eventually, the door bell will go and in will trudge the water walla with the water bottle perched on his shoulder. He’ll utter not a word and walk sharpishly to the stand in the kitchen and remove the old one and tip in the new one.

All well and good. He does some mysterious things to arrange it to his liking (he seems very precise about it) and then he’ll leave.

Madam - dawn of a new water bottleHe does this bit very well – at just the right speed that he doesn’t appear to be waiting for a tip, but slow enough that I have lots of time to tip. A man obviously skilled in these arts.

And of course I do always tip. As I’ve mentioned before, I was slack on the tipping front for a while and things were not good on getting things actually done, as a direct result.

So I hand him the tip. Usually, it’s 10 rupees, which is not an unreasonable tip for someone carting a heavy thing all the way from the far side of the parking lot. Though of course, it’s paid for as part of my rent.

He always takes the tip stoically: no eye contact, occasionally a grunt, never a smile.

I gave him it all in change once, as I didn’t have a note – and he took it without a word (of course), but had a sneaky check of how much was there on his way out. I like to think he might have been thrilled by the fact it was actually 11 rupees.

But it’s difficult to tell.

And it’s very nice having lots of water to hand.

Plus I can tell you with certainty that I drink a full bottle a week. I have no idea how much is in a bottle (10 litres, 12?) but it seems about the right amount. Gads, I’ve just checked – it’s actually 20 litres. Wow, I really am drinking a lot of water.

Before my last trip back to London it was incredibly hot here – mid forties Celsius (that’s around 110 Fahrenheit) every day. That’s unusual in Bangalore and I moved up to a bottle every 5 days. The tips ran thick and fast those weeks, as everyone else was drinking more water and it was hot as hell to be lugging anything heavier than a paper bag across the car park. I reckon it must have cost me maybe 20 rupees a week in tips.

Oh yes, I’m the last of the high rollers.

And apparently, I’m also terribly well hydrated. You’re impressed, I can tell.


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Do you get things delievered to your home regularly? Have you got to know the delivery man – do tell in the comments below.