My mom is a huge stickler for cleanliness, and maintains all kinds of weird rules in the house. I am glad I inherited some of it, that ensures that I maintain some standards in my house. I am also glad I didn't acquire all of it, because in my book that borders on pathological OCD. Now for all the 22 years we lived in Bombay, we never had a water shortage problem. The move to Hydie has brought with it this new problem, and a new facet of my mom's OCD comes to fore.
The water management issue is a whole science in itself, one that only my mom fully comprehends. The rest of us are best off if we follow instructions to the letter and not ask any questions. I was given my introductory lesson the day I set foot in the apartment. There are two sources of water: Manjeera river water, which can be used for cooking purposes wonly (and is supplied every alternate day so has to be collected and hoarded in every container possible) and bore-well water, which is hard water and can only be used for dishes, in the bathroom etc. Bore-well water is supplied 24 hours, but every alternate day or so the pump breaks and then we don't have that water till it gets fixed. So that has to be stocked too. Now of course, to the layman's eye, water is water, but god forbid you end up mixing one for the other, as they say in telugu, your forefathers will descend upon you. So these two kinds of water have to be stored separately and used appropriately when the need arises.
Now all types of water is collected and stored in the kitchen and tiny surrounding area, between kitchen and bathroom, for lack of any other space in this matchbox apartment. So this zone is what I refer to as the high stress zone. If any piece of plasticware or metal used in either kitchen or bathroom crosses across the divide, the sky will fall down. In the high stress zone the buckets and respective mugs are color-coded. Red mug for red bucket and yellow mug for yellow bucket. The red bucket sits in the kitchen and is used to collect hard water. There isn't enough space in the tiny bathroom to store an water there, so one has to carry water into the bathroom, using the yellow bucket. The red mug can be used to transfer water from the red bucket into the yellow bucket, but only for that, and constantly ensuring that it doesn't actually make any contact with the yellow bucket. Yellow bucket sits just outside the boundary of the kitchen while the transfer is in progress. This yellow bucket can be carried into bathroom and used to pour water into smaller yellow bucket inside the bathroom, and then has to be brought outside and left to be refilled. It cannot be laid on the bathroom floor under any circumstances. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in dire consequences, mostly high pitched.
During my first few days here, my mom had very little confidence in her daughter, Ph.D., to be able to follow these instructions correctly. So every time she saw me hovering in the zone of stress, she dropped everything she was doing and came to supervise me. I was able to extricate mom from her favourite saas bahu serials and also compel her to hurriedly hang up on important phone calls (the kinds that call and ask for my date, place and time of birth and photograph) , all to ensure that I was using red mug with red bucket and yellow mug for yellow bucket, never mixing the two. It didn't help that I badly needed to pee and the nervousness from her watching over me wasn't making anything easier.
Now finally the trust has been established, I can pee without duress and mom doesn't have to miss another "jo hua woh theek nahi hua" type scene. But simultaneously, the probability of me getting hitched to a "nice" Andhra boy who is a software engineer and lives "there only" (some random state in the US) has gone up by a notch. Such are the trade-offs in life. Sigh.
P.S. Answering comments made me want to come back to blogging! Who would've thought? (OK, no need to spam, shameless people).