Humans are a starved species, we tend to starve for something or the other throughout our menial lives. The poor starve of hunger, often thin, showing ribs, the rich starve to lose weight, all the money they eat showing up in their pot bellies. Our cities, where people come for quality life, are starved of space and clean air, while the rural areas have both of them, but are being abandoned for lack of quality life. The grass is always greener on the other side, and we keep hopping to the neighbouring lawn to ensure we don’t starve ourselves of anything. Such is the irony called life.

Last year, around the peak of summer, we were seeing scarcity of water. Water, not potable water, any water. We have a RO purifier in our kitchen, but that was useless because there wasn’t any water. Monsoon was around and I decided to collect all the rainwater.

I spent a little over ₹12k to save water and use it minimally, given that we were sourcing it at exorbitant rates – 20 litres of water for every ₹. We purchase that water, which is not potable with its hardness > 800ppm, and process it by RO to ensure we get to drink water. We are multi millionaires in terms of rupees, which makes us a modest middle class family. We pay taxes promptly every year, and we have to pay for and process water. Else we’ll have to bribe the lineman to ensure there’s a supply of water once every 15 days. Irony, right?

So, it worked, the plan to harvest water and we were able to save a lot of water. Changes in usage patterns lead to more savings and 11k litres lasted close to 25 days from the earlier 10 days. It was an achievement.

We humans, especially the ones India, are starved of love. Our parents are stricter, we are beaten up and punished severely as kids, when compared to a typical Westerner, our teachers shower love only in the form of caning and making us stand on the bench as a punishment, our romantic lives are full of one-sided lust for the men and women around us which we think is love, and when we do find a love interest that reciprocates we have to be wary of lathi-weilding goons – those in uniform and those not in – who can harass us for holding hands in the public and trying to steal a peck on the cheek because that violates our culture.

Oh! We are so starved of a kiss, we have to go through a lot to get one. The girl, most times, is so afraid to do it in the first place, that we boys have no option but to persuade them, and convince and ultimately beg for one kiss. Sometimes it happens under circumstances where it cannot really be called consent in a typical western outlook, but is considered to be a skill of persuasion and seduction in our culture.

Don’t even get me started on sex. I’m unmarried, about to be 29, and I may have (let’s keep this hush-hush) done it like about 15-16 times, I must have scored more than an average Joe married for a whole year. Yeah, a lot of Indians have to end up doing it when kids are sleeping around. So, yes we are a sex starved nation. I have lived without it for 5 years now, and I guess I will forget all I learnt from the porn sites in about a year’s time given that I’m not gonna be married for a few more years and I am afraid of watching porn online – government monitoring and all. By the time I’d get to do it next, my libido would’ve seen an inflection point and thereafter it’d crash like ‘Sensex’ crashed after Arun Jaitley announced the financial budget on 1st February 2018. Starved. Irony.

So we save all that water, throughout the calendar year. I even implemented drip irrigation for the plants, to ensure we use minimal potable water for plants. Not every litre we purchase and process in RO is potable. The RO itself rejects close to 100 litres of water everyday for about 20 litres of potable consumption. So, to save that, we collect it in a small storage and use it to wash the utensils. I bathe in about 15 litres of water, laugh you may because the Ontarios and Michigans have made you forget what it feels like to be in Utah. Ugh! For all you know, even Utah may not be as parched.

And then, shit happens. The automated valve that’s used to supply water to the plants at regular frequencies, fails this morning. It opens up completely causing flooding of plants at 5 in the morning, leading to loss of close to 100 litres of water. There you go, a whole day’s savings gone down the drain, just like that, because a machine I purchased 6 months ago, and been using for 2 months, failed. I kept hearing the water flow down the channels, to the drain, helplessly, haplessly. The machine that was supposed to save us water, ended up wasting it even as we have started facing a shortage. Irony.

So, my girlfriend and I wanted to do things right. No we don’t want sex and all. What we want is quality life for us. We want us to enjoy our pre-marital adult life like lovers should. You know, roam around, hold hands, watch movies, may be make out a little bit when watching movies, go on overnight drives and may be a couple of weekend trips out of the city.

We were doing all that for about 3 months, but then we kept lying to our parents about who we are going out with. Yeah, in India, especially in an Orthodox Brahmin family like mine, you have to be afraid to tell your parents that you’re going out with a girl, even at 28. They’ll be cool if a 28 year old unmarried guy keeps taking the same guy’s name as his companion on all the trips and movies, but a girl’s name would trigger earthquakes.

Given that the girl and I are related (no incest here, trust me, it’s all legal), we decided to announce it to our parents. We told them about us, about the eventuality of a wedding and a marriage 3 years later. We told them the rationale behind telling them, that we don’t wanna lie every time and don’t want to be spotted holding hands in a mall, by an aunt’s cousin’s husband’s mother’s daughter’s son, such a thing could potentially damage the reputations of our families, after all. That we’d wanna freely roam around, hold hands, drive overnight, go on trips, sleepover, movies, the whole shebang.

Our parents got a little too excited about the news and in a span of one week, finalized and formalized this relationship. We’re fiancés now, the ones that haven’t exchanged rings. And now that we’re that, we have the responsibility of not damaging the reputation of both families. And now that my uncles and aunts and her uncles and aunts know about us, we have to be wary of overnight drives and making out in the car. Trips? Forget it. The moment we say we’re going on a weekend trip, they’ll think we’re having sex. Whether we have or not is a different question. Irony.