Water proofing in today's times

Water proofing in todays times
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Water proofing in today's times

Highlights

This is just too much, one would muse. Looking at the landscape awash in the never ending rains both seasonal and cyclonic, one would only wonder as to what could be the reason for the punishment pouring in from the skies. It is not just the Telugu States that are dripping constantly but also their neighbours.

This is just too much, one would muse. Looking at the landscape awash in the never ending rains both seasonal and cyclonic, one would only wonder as to what could be the reason for the punishment pouring in from the skies. It is not just the Telugu States that are dripping constantly but also their neighbours.

It sometimes drips and drips by the day and in between gains momentum to make the 'nalas' and drains run onto the streets of our cities, be it Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur or Warangal only to create a strange spectacle of unholy confluence of mud and filth, sending the waters into the houses and the residents on to the roofs of their shelters. Who is to be blamed for the travails of commoners these days? Gods in the skies or the planners in the cities? All those who allowed encroachments of the water bodies and permitted constructions in the lake beds? Oh no! Waters are not encroaching upon the cities. It is the other way round. Waters are only attempting to reclaim their bodies. It is not just us, even the fictional characters fought their wars with water.

With no one around him in 1719, Robinson Crusoe on his island, was similarly attentive to the problem of keeping out the rain. How? He underwent an intensive training self-training programme in the most primal and sophisticated of arts – the art of building shelters.

Crusoe, Defoe says, constructed first a double-layered tent and then, in time, a "fortification" as stout and impermeable as he could. It was not watertight, of course, but he engineered a drainage system to let any excess water out. In his dizzying state of solitude, unsure which of his perceptions can be relied upon, he worshipped the firm walls, which promise certainty. Was Crusoe far ahead of his times in meditating on a drainage system to save him? Seems so, isn't it so?

Why cannot our governments make us water proof in these modern days? Crusoe, in the absence of any help from anyone or any authority, makes himself waterproof. He became a designer of rain gear. He made a fur hat "to shoot off the rain" and finally, after much trial and error, he made a giant umbrella which "casts off the Rains like a Penthouse". Maybe we all have to take a cue from him and become Crusoes of the day with little to expect from the governments. When Crusoe leaves his island he takes three things with him as souvenirs. One is the parrot, who has been his constant companion; the other two are his hat and umbrella. These portable shelters are Crusoe's emblems. They are the signs of human craftsmanship and ingenuity combined in the struggle against water. Or else one has to fall in love with moistness as in The Mill on the Floss.

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