A Night to Remember

December 22, 2016

What a night.

I went to bed at 10 p.m. as usual, but was kept awake by the sound of water running out. You should know that we’re a bit fanatic about water around here. There’s nothing that Amit won’t do to save half a cup of water – and this is our lovingly harvested rain water contributed by a scanty monsoon and a cyclone that I’m talking about. Ordinarily, after the November or December cyclone, we have sufficient water to see us through a clear two months. After that, it’s back to Cauvery water until the April thundershowers arrive. And if you think Cauvery water is good, well, you certainly haven’t tasted rain water then.

So when we hear water running out, we tend to be a bit paranoid about it. Had we left a tap running somewhere? Was there a leak? We tried to convince ourselves that it originated somewhere across the road, but couldn’t refrain from further investigation. So we got ourselves out of bed, stumbled downstairs and went all the way out into the street, where we discovered (to our relief) that the neighbours appeared to have left a garden tap running. It being 10.30 by this time, we didn’t think it wise to knock on their door and tell them this. Anyway, the flow had pretty much stopped; perhaps their tank had emptied.

We went back to bed and fell asleep, only to be awoken three hours later by the sound of water gushing somewhere close at hand. It’s not the rainy season anymore, there’s absolutely no reason for water to be gushing anywhere closer than the Cauvery itself (if even that can bring itself to gush after the miserable monsoon we had this year). The sound had unobtrusively entered my dreams but it was Amit who jumped out of bed first. I guess the gushing had been part of the background for quite a while by then.

This time, it was in our house. A tap had broken and fallen off the wall. That’s right – apparently such things can happen, and since they can, they will … at 1.30 a.m. when you’re peacefully asleep, leaving the water to run for ages before you wake up and do something about it. Of course, it could have been worse. It could have happened while we were away. Or while we’d inadvertently left the pump on.

As it happened, we were only asleep not away and the pump was off, so the broken tap drained our overhead tank (which had about 600 litres of water at the time) but didn’t have an opportunity to drain the underground tank (which stores around 12,000 litres when it’s full – and it was pretty close to full, thanks to the cyclone).

So, at 1.30 a.m. Amit goes charging out to turn off the water supply to that tap, leaving me to hold the tap in place as tightly as I can to prevent the last few of the 600 litres from going down the drain with the rest of it.

And then all we have to do is mop up the mess and get back to bed.

We can still hear the water gurgling merrily through our reed bed, into our gray water tank, and out into the drain – because our gray water tank wasn’t expecting a sudden influx of close to 600 litres and so it overflowed, of course.

Added to that, the street dogs barking endlessly, thrilled to bits at our predicament or just exchanging the news of the night with friends near and far; either way effortlessly (and possibly unintentionally) keeping us awake and miserable for a very long time.

I fell asleep eventually, but the night wasn’t done with me just yet. The next time my sleep was broken – rudely, at that – by the howling of the burglar alarm. And when I say howling, I actually mean shrieking like a banshee. I’ve never heard a banshee screaming – ok, let’s be honest, I don’t actually know what a banshee is – but I’m convinced it can’t sound any worse than our burglar alarm. It was 4.45 a.m. by now, so it was unlikely to be a burglar trying to get into the house; more likely just the wretched pesky cats triggering the motion sensor; but I had to leap out of bed to shut off the infernal racket before it woke the entire neighbourhood and also drove me insane, which it can do in 15 seconds flat. It had to be me leaping out of bed this time, mind you. Unless there’s water running, Amit’s no good at leaping out of bed.

Grumbling and swearing, I declined to search for imaginary intruders and fell back into my bed – only to be awoken 15 minutes later by the neighbours washing their driveway. What the…??? I simply do not understand what drives people to do this futile thing at this ungodly hour of day. To add to my woes, the dogs were barking again (perhaps they had never stopped) and the neighbours’ running tap was running again (not the same neighbours who were washing their driveway, mind; we have neighbours on every side around here). Perhaps, now that it was early morning and Cauvery water would have started flowing, it had a fresh stock of water to send in a rivulet down the lane.

Fifteen restless minutes later, my alarm went off.

Naturally, as soon as I’d turned off the wretched thing, I fell blissfully asleep, only to leap out of bed 20 minutes later with a curse when I realized I was late for tennis. Of course I went for tennis. Since it’s still dark at 6 a.m. these days, there’s nothing amiss in going a few minutes late. I jumped into the car, drove off, and started the windshield wiper to clear the fog. With a clunk, one wiper fell off and landed on the bonnet.

Never in my long and eventful life (in a manner of speaking) have I had a more entertaining night than last night.


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