A disaster of the somewhat innocuous kind brought all the 12-15 odd families in our building together. Usually, we do not keep track of the ongoing of our neighbors. We nod curtly and smile if we bump into someone in the stairway. But last afternoon, the water pump malfunctioned and we lost running water. We waited until evening, but nothing. The supply of stored water was slowly running out. Late evening, ma started making a few phone calls, asking when it would be fixed. We were supposed to visit a family friend nearby, so we showed up at their place with 6-8 empty bottles to stock up on drinking water. While coming home, we saw that all the men of the building were assembled together discussing what needs to be done.
Early morning, people were ready with buckets to fill up on municipality water that stops after 8 am. This actually gave people a chance to say hi and make small talk, since everyone was queued up with a common goal. As the line was getting longer, ma went to the neighbor from the adjacent building to stock up on buckets of water (which I dutifully carried upstairs). The neighbor also invited us to come back and take a shower if the water problem was not solved. This water crises forced me to meet at everyone from the building I usually do not go out of my way to meet.
9 am. The problem is fixed. Water is back. We are back to living our normal, isolated lives, watching TV with family and getting back on the internet. No more communal gatherings with buckets in hands, chatting up with real people. We are back to chatting virtually.
Water crises is bad. But thank god we did not lose electricity or internet. I also got a good workout first thing in the morning. I always look at the brighter side.