THE OPEN TANK


“Bangalore roads are not meant for constitutional walks. Try to take walks in your own compound or on some level ground.” Thus advised my orthopaedist when I complained about not being able to go for walks outside my house.

Fortunately, I had discovered that I had no problem negotiating the staircases. So I decided to go up two flights of steps, some 30 in all and walk on my terrace. It was a good decision. The tiled terrace not only provided me with level ground to walk, but it also gave me an unpolluted air with the fragrance of the ‘road mallige ’flowers which had profusely blossomed on the tall trees situated on the next road.

The houses were built back to back. So, at that altitude I could get a bird’s eye view of the terraces all around my house and thus I had a fairly good idea as to the general fitness and tidiness of the inmates.

On the back of my right side neighbours, there was the house facing the next road, whose members (let me call them ‘Joshis’) hardly ever bothered to come up the two floors, while their left side neighbours (let me call them ‘’Sharmas’’) seemed to be highly environment and fitness conscious. Sharmas’ house had been built to include a coconut tree. I would often see the lady of the house taking brisk walks on the terrace and the couple would often be seen making full use of their sunny terrace for activities such as making pickles and preserves.

But, coming to Joshis,there was a small cement water tank on  their terrace, which had been covered with a light corrugated zinc sheet and weighted down with strips of light wall tiles. In addition to this tank there were two covered ‘Syntex’ tanks also. From my vantage point I could not see whether all the three tanks were inter connected or not. So, I had no idea whether the water in the cement tank was flowing or stagnant.

One evening, I was shocked to see the corrugated sheet had shifted. I could see big chunks of scum floating on the surface, making it an ideal breeding place for mosquitoes. I had heard that an area of 2km radius around any stagnant water was most vulnerable and there was a great danger of diseases such as dengue and chikungunya affecting the whole neighbourhood. How to convey the information to the Joshis and ask them to cover their tank? I was not acquainted with them as their houses faced another road. With my arthritic legs, I could not negotiate the bumpy footpath to go around the block, locate their house and inform them. I was desperate. It carried on for 3-4 days like that. On the 4th day, I saw Mr. Sharma on his terrace. I was not acquainted with him either. Moreover, my voice would break if I shouted across two houses, which meant a distance of 80ft. So, I clapped my hands and managed to attract the attention of the gentleman. Using sign language and a husky voice, I managed to convey the situation to him and requested him to ask the Sharmas to cover their tank. He nodded his head and assured me that he would do so.

Next evening, I was gratified to see the corrugated sheet back in its place weighted with  more wall tiles. I heaved a sigh of relief that I could relax till the next gale dislodged the sheet on the cement tank.

video courtesy you tube.

 

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