Water

A young boy drinking dirty water in Bombay. Does he have water security, you think?
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Does this boy have water security? Do you?

Drinking Water

I shot this image many years ago at Crawford Market in Bombay. The market and city names are different now, but my memory is terrible, so I stay with the old names! I remember posting this image on this site and a few other social media platforms. I was close to the end of that day’s shooting and stood near the parking lot. People stood around, drinking some awful pink muck. Then, I noticed this young boy picking up a plastic cup from the ground and filling it with water. I framed him with the trucks as background. Issues like water security did not enter my consciousness. We change.

My Story

I have had my brushes with waterborne disease. The first time it happened was when I sat in the train going home after our college convocation. Business school was over. When I sat in the train, I wondered if I should do a Ph.D. I felt thirsty but did not want to dance onto the railway platform to get water. I reached out of the window and pulled a large rubber tube towards me. The railway authorities use these tubes to wash trains. What can I say? Call me young and foolhardy. The dirty water almost killed me, and in thirty minutes, I got diarrhea. Through the eighteen hours in the train and the subsequent three-hour car ride home, I kept rushing to the toilet. I arrived home at 5 am the next morning, almost in a coma.

I have always been paranoid about water since. When I photographed this boy, I only cared about the image composition and the awful water he drank. In India, we like to fool ourselves. We have a myth: our lousy conditions help to strengthen our immune systems. When confronted with data, we brush it away.

Since Then

Since those days, we have continued to screw the planet. Water security is going to become a big issue. I also remember reading the statement by the CEO of Nestle, saying there is no reason water should be free. This is neoliberalism at its worst.

Over time, I moved towards the left and socialism. However, I confess I must study socialism before I can make that statement with any certainty. I will say this, however. We change. As we change, we interpret images differently. All those years back, the image was a photo opportunity and a source of wonder. Now, I look at the image and see more than just the composition of a boy forced to drink polluted water. I think of water security, growing inequality, and a world going rogue.

What is in your mind? I am curious to know.


A Few Links

Iberdrola https://bit.ly/3OyyN3Q

United Nations https://www.unwater.org/publications/water-security-infographic/

World Bank https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water/publication/water-security-diagnostic-initiative

World Water Council https://iwaponline.com/wp/article-abstract/9/6/545/31241/Sink-or-Swim-Water-security-for-growth-and?redirectedFrom=fulltext


Published by Rajiv

I have been around the block a bit. I've lived in four countries, and in many parts of my country. I have been fortunate enough to meet some really good people, and some really lousy ones, all of whom have taught me much. I am passionate about photography, writing, Indian history and continuing on this grand journey towards death.

6 thoughts on “Water

  1. Jane Lurie – Hello! Berenice Abbott said, “Photography helps people to see.” It is satisfying when someone looks at one of my images and remarks that they now see something in a new way. I hope that my photographs delight and surprise you.
    Jane Lurie says:

    Interesting how our perspective evolves throughout our lives. Thanks for sharing your story, Rajiv. As our world feels like it’s falling apart, I have a long list of anxieties. Water shortages and the climate disaster certainly top the list. Your image of this young boy is stunning.

    1. Rajiv – I have been around the block a bit. I've lived in four countries, and in many parts of my country. I have been fortunate enough to meet some really good people, and some really lousy ones, all of whom have taught me much. I am passionate about photography, writing, Indian history and continuing on this grand journey towards death.
      Rajiv says:

      Thanks! I am glad you like the image. Yes. The world seems to be going crazy

    1. Rajiv – I have been around the block a bit. I've lived in four countries, and in many parts of my country. I have been fortunate enough to meet some really good people, and some really lousy ones, all of whom have taught me much. I am passionate about photography, writing, Indian history and continuing on this grand journey towards death.
      Rajiv says:

      Thank you!

  2. brenda – Photography has served two purposes within my life: 1) validation of one’s life and of the emotional connections between people and 2) a visual means to communication beyond the limitations of words.
    brenda says:

    I remember how stunned I felt when a teacher opened a door of understanding when she noted that on one end of the continuum of Christianity is personal salivation while the other is social justice. Your post invites me to be open to the interdependence of my behaviors with the lives of others … climate change seems to message interdependence.

    1. Rajiv – I have been around the block a bit. I've lived in four countries, and in many parts of my country. I have been fortunate enough to meet some really good people, and some really lousy ones, all of whom have taught me much. I am passionate about photography, writing, Indian history and continuing on this grand journey towards death.
      Rajiv says:

      Thanks. Yes, indeed. Climate change messages interdependence. I did not think about Christianity this way. Thannks for that

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