Water to wine? Climate change is barking up the wrong tree

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In this series, a pair of pet dogs cast their eyes about the world, taking turns to whine and woof about what they see, while wagging both tails and tongues before their favourite human companion, the author.

It’s a dog’s purpose to observe and probe life’s greatest depths from the lazy comfort of Reem’s couch.


“Look at that street dog lapping water out of a slimy puddle,” I said, my snout wrinkled in disdain, whiskers grazing the window pane. Taking a long sip of chilled cucumber water, I sprinkled a few drops on the head of the white and brown dog sprawled next to me in a cool air-conditioned reverie. She got up to shake herself off and peep out. “Wish I could drink out of puddles, but Reem and Sid never let us!” she said wistfully.

I was disgusted. “Oh please Molly, that’s jaundice water! Now look at it! It’s fighting with another dog who’s trying to get a few sips in. Such junglee behaviour. Imagine fighting over water? So plebeian!” We continued to stare as one of the dogs fled the scene, leaving the other to lap away at the dark pool. Molly looked sad, “But Mia, where do street dogs get water?” I waved my paw dismissively, “Who cares. Not our problem. As long as we get ours, don’t worry about it.” Molly looked puzzled, “But we are lucky, no? There’s always water at our house.” Bored of the conversation, I jumped off the bench and sashayed away with my empty glass, “Oh Molly stop it. We are domestic dogs! Who cares about the streeties. Thank goodness, we don’t live in Chennai though; heard even pedigrees aren’t getting water. Delhi is the capital no? It can’t run out of water. How silly will it look in the news, ‘India’s capital city runs out of water. That’s absurd. Don’t bother yourself with all this. Now Mollykins, come along, let’s watch some Netflix. We must finish watching The Crown.”

I settled in on the couch, pawing the remote to scroll through the trending shows. I heard a conversation in the next room. Craning my neck I saw Reem patting Molly by the window. “Why so glum, chum?” she asked cheerily. With sad puppy eyes, Molly recounted the scene from outside and my comments. Reem picked her up, “Oh Molls, I’m glad you’re thinking about it. Mia is a snob, but you my love, haven’t forgotten your street roots. It’s made you empathetic.” I charged over, “More like pathetic. Why you two are discussing all this is beyond me. We have nothing to do with it!” I snorted explosively. Reem smacked me over the head, ignoring my angry squawk and pulled me up beside her. “Now listen up, you two, Molly’s right. If you read or watched anything but Danielle Steele or British period dramas, Mia, you might have noticed that there’s a water crunch in India. Just decades of careless water usage. We all need to do our bit. And that means no more 30-minute showers, Mia, no more overwatering your petunias, Molly, and for goodness sakes no more daily pedicures in mineral water!” Molly and I looked at each other in panic.

“Bucket baths and cracked paws, you may as well put us on the streets now!”

“Oh don’t be so dramatic! I want to see some progress on this, you two. I’m serious. Chop chop.”

With a steely resolve we set to it while Reem went out of town for a few days. “Oh, we’ve been so good Mum,” squealed Molly on her return, pirouetting joyfully. “You’ll be so proud of us,” I agreed, dragging her to the couch. “Bucket baths, check. Not overwatering the petunias, check. We even collected the RO water to do the watering and we snuck a bit for a pedicure, but at least it was waste water! And we put a bowl of clean water outside for the street dogs.” She patted our beaming faces, rewarding us with a chew stick, before reaching out for a bottle of water from the kitchen. “What’s this?” she shrieked, staring at the wine bottle in her palm. There were rows and rows of them stacked on the kitchen counter. “Oh that’s our best idea yet. And we got it from you.” I said excitedly. “You mentioned that it’s cheaper to buy beer in Europe than water, and we thought that’s perfect. So no more water in our house, we now only drink alcohol. And the occasional slurp from the toilet bowl. In fact, we’ve already plowed through half the bar. Can I interest you in a cocktail? Molly is an excellent shaker. To the bar Mollykins, I have exactly the mix in mind for her! In fact, we should open a bar on the street and give out cocktails to the poor streeties. Beats puddle water, for sure! What a brilliant conservation idea!”

She stared at us in exasperation, obviously unimpressed with her do-gooder mutts. “Cheer up!” I said, “It’s a long summer ahead, but at least you’ll be drunk through most of it!”

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