Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Simple Life


That’s what my mum has decided to adopt here in Sawantwadi. And it is pretty much, the life of my dreams. It’s low-impact, calm and friendly. My mum wakes at 5 and sits watching the birds come to her garden and looking for any flowers that might have blossomed overnight.

A big part of this simplicity is her desire to be as self-reliant as possible. So we have a compost pit which will be just fine once the rain stops sloshing down, she’s growing some of her food, and she’s harvesting her water from the skies.

The Konkan in the monsoons is never short of water. So far, we have been managing just fine with a couple of buckets in rotation: one being used in the house, one under the downspout which gets filled every 5 minutes. This necessitates a lot of running in and out of the downpour with buckets, and is not something I want mum to do when she is alone.

And so the home-made rainwater harvesting system. Rajan (a chap who comes around every couple of days to do odd jobs in the garden) and I fixed a pipe to the downspout using willpower- it is too wet to use a solvent glue. This was steadied with a post. I then stole mum’s cleanest dish towel and used it to make a rough filter. We slipped a collapsible pipe over it, tied it on tight, let the other end into her water tank and then the real work began. This was the gentle nudging out of all kinks in the pipe so that it would carry water instead of storing it. An hour or so in the rain and now it seems to be working.

It definitely is not as pretty as a rainwater harvesting system can and should be. In some ways, I feel like I cheated it of its potential- wonderfully aesthetic and functional things can be done by playing with various downtakes. But it was done in a morning, my mum can dismantle it whenever she chooses, it filters and transports her water, and it was done for a total cost of Rs600 /- . Not too bad.