Open sewers part 1

Outside my window is a mini L. A. River, an open sewer now running quick and mostly clear with storm water. This new, wealthy settlement of boxy concrete houses lacks continuous water service, wired phone and internet connections, and paved streets. Now that the rains have come, the vacant lots / common buffalo and goat pasture between the houses becomes a swampy maze of rain-fed pools that shrink between storms.

Usually the rains come just as my translator and I hit the clogged Hubli-Dharwad highway on his 150 cc Honda scooter. When the rain falls in sheets, we and everyone else pull off under a tree or chai stand or gas station awning. On the roads, buses yield to cows. Cars veer into the “opposite lane” to pass the buses and honk at buses and rickshaws, which only go about 25 when loaded with 4 people, miscellaneous hardware strapped to the roof, or 10 school kids with backpacks hanging off the side by the door handles. Scooters sometimes race around tractors pulling trailers, rickshaws, buses, or cargo trucks, but often get pushed to the muddy verge, and mostly don’t have horns. All the buses, trucks, and rickshaws have painted signs on the back that say “BLOW HORN” or “HORN OK PLEASE”.

The city builds boxy sewers in the neighborhoods. These spill into lined or unlined creek beds. Bit by bit, people cover the drain in front of their house with large slabs of stone (sandstone in Bundi, slate in Hubli and Dharwad). In slum areas, water taps typically stick out into the drain and hoses that bring water from the taps to people’s home storage containers run through them.

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~ by waterunderground on June 18, 2011.

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