11-17 November 2016 #832

Life without water

After gooseberry wine, the most overrated liquid in the world is probably water. Cosmologists tell us that life on other planets in our galaxy is impossible unless water is present. However, I know from personal experience in my own tole that semi-intelligent life can flourish despite not a drop of water having flowed out of our taps since the reign of King Amsuvarma. They found water in Mars, but no life. In Kathmandu Valley we have no water, but we have single-cell organisms inside Singha Darbar.

This is scientific proof, if proof was still needed, that we don’t really need water at all to keep body and soul together. We can carry on in the trajectory through our current incarnation, as well as endless future cycles of life and re-birth, with no water at all. We don’t need any H2O, thank you. So very kind of you, sir. 

Generations of Kathmandulays have grown up in total absence of water, and our bodies have evolved gradually through a process of natural selection, and the survival of the fattest, to adapt to this waterless world. Our bodies have simply replaced water with alternative fluids wherever possible. 

1. There are households in our neighbourhood, for instance, that have completely done away with washing. To clean Y-fronts that they have been wearing every day since Chairman Awesome’s swearing-in for his second term in office as prime minister, they use a process called “dry cleaning”. Basically, this means spreading said undergarment on an ironing board, sprinkling liberal amounts scented talcum powder, and incinerating the fungi, yeast, moulds and other eukaryotic organisms. Voila! Within minutes, the undies look and smell as good as new. 

2. Brushing teeth is a very water-intensive exercise. But many of us have totally obviated the need for water and toothpaste after discovering that one can brush one’s teeth with great efficacy if one gargles with a chilled 500ml bottle of beer (“Probably the Best Mouthwash in the World”) and then using the ensuing froth to vigorously reach all nooks and crannies within our oral cavities. Whiter, healthier teeth, no plaque, no need for water, and a great way to start a new day. 

3. There must have been a huge shortage of water in ancient Egypt, because we know from historical parchment records that Cleopatra bathed in asses’ milk. These hieroglyphic texts have been meticulously deciphered and have no records of what Mr Mark Anthony thought of this practice, or if he in fact joined her in the tub to do asinine things. But it did save the Egyptian Civilisation a lot of water since we are told that Cleopatra was in the habit of bathing quite often.

We are acquainted with quite a lot of asses in our tole, but unfortunately none of them are presently lactating. This rules out bathing in asses’ milk for me for the time being, but where there is a will there is a way. 

4. Those desperately in need of a bath can join the entire city at the Das Rat Stadium Swimming Pool which has recently been converted into a giant communal bathtub where the entire Valley comes to take a dip and clean the black stuff that gathers in the gap between their toes. All we have to do is enforce a mandatory bath at the aforementioned facility for politicians and bureaucrats so they can also wash their greasy palms and dirty linen in public and ensure a squeaky clean administration. 

5. In its effort to conserve water, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has banned spitting in public and private places. Studies have shown that an average city dweller spits several dozen times an hour. All added up, this represents a grievous loss of precious moisture from the body and could lead to serious dehydration. Now that we are aware of this, all we have to do is to swallow the copious quantities of saliva during the day, that we would otherwise extirpate, to quench our thirst. No longer need to buy Thirst Pee Mineral Water (Registered Trademark, Patent Pending). 

6. Water also used to be needed for irrigation. Not any more. Many of us have perfected innovative ways to keep our gardens moist. Dogs can be trained to regard the pot of dodecatheon as the perimeter of their domain, which they then approach at regular intervals during the day, lift their hind leg, and turn on the sprinkler. For more water-intensive plants like the Delphinium belladona, you can employ the services of the zoo elephant, Gajaraj, which will not only irrigate your garden, but also replenish the flowerbeds with valuable phosphorus and nitrogen-rich nutrients. 

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