Looking for a hot bath ?

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Completely jet lagged from my flight from NY, I thought perhaps that I would indulge in a hot bath in my hotel room in Powai (Mumbai),. And I felt really guilty doing so. I imagined the water lying in the bathtub and looked out of the window and saw a slum. I wondered how many families would be standing near dry taps for hours waiting for water. The water in my bathtub would be at least 20 bucketfuls. I realized when you read and think deeply about issues, like the environment, you really do change your perspective. Its all about re-educating yourself to the changing world around yourself, and re – aligning to it.
All my life, living in India, in Europe and in the US, I have loved the idea of soaking in a hot bath, but having thought about the issue’s of water facing our planet, and especially India, I find I am no longer able to do so. After all my film Paani is just about that. The people in the upper city have swimming pools while those in the lower city are standing in line for hours waiting for tankers to bring them water
The pic above is from my hotel room. The swimming pool against the gradually dwindling lake at Powai. I remember this lake. The late Kaifi Azmi ( Shabana’s poet father) and his friends used to come here and spend hours fishing. It felt like the countryside then. But now of course, it is teeming with high rise buildings, and a gradually shrinking lake.

27 Responses to “Looking for a hot bath ?”

  1. Sridhar says:

    Well.. so is not taking a bath in a hot tub really doing anything?? Being successful and being able to afford the stuff you can, that other’s can’t, really doesn’t make you a bad person.. no point feeling guilty about it.

  2. Ravi Sagar says:

    I appreciate your concerns. If each one of us do this little bit we can bring the change.
    Have a wonderful day!

  3. Sridevi says:

    Dear Sir
    First of all i would like to say i love reading ur blog…u come across as a really nice person:)
    Regarding this post,i must appreciate your concern for people who struggle to get water…if only all of us showed that concern,we will be able to face the water crisis..recently there was an article on rediff about this:
    http://specials.rediff.com/money/2009/feb/10sd1-india-to-experience-severe-water-crisis-by-2020.htm
    Regards
    Sri

  4. kedar says:

    Hi dude…
    hows PAANI shaping up?
    it is at what stage? still scripting it down?

  5. gina says:

    Hi Shekar!
    That was really nice and thought provoking and sent me thinking too…thanks for that..and for showing what it takes to really make a change…starting with oneself.

  6. Aj says:

    YES
    your thoughts are touching
    Same happens almost everyday, reading all the water shortage and concerns in Bay Area …
    Santa Clara Valley Water is giving free high-efficencty toilets …
    Re-educating and sharing with as many everyday is now new life …

  7. Aj says:

    YES
    your thoughts are touching
    Same happens almost everyday, reading all the water shortage and concerns in Bay Area …
    Santa Clara Valley Water is giving free high-efficencty toilets …
    Re-educating and sharing with as many everyday is now new life …
    Looking forward for “PAANI” and all friends here are waiting …

  8. priyanka says:

    Hi Mr Kapur,
    I am Priyanka from Business Standard newspaper, a financial daily. I tried catching up with you at Frames but it was too chaotic to catch your eye. I wanted to have an interview with you, if you would have the time sometime.
    It was on your forthcoming productions and the various film experiments that you mentioned during a Frames session.
    Please let me know.
    Priyanka Joshi
    9819850005

  9. thai123 says:

    As Confucius said: A city is always two cities, a city of the few rich, a city of the many poor. As long as human race proceed, this will continue. There is no need to feel guilty about worldly pleasures. However i’m intoxicated by the healthy dose of remorse permeated through your gently crafted words. You are a good person, and i wish you live your life to its fullest.

  10. DQ says:

    Hiya Shekahr…
    In india, swimming pools should be banned, as per our state of water affairs…
    The tourists, could be educated about the water problems, they are not so thick headed I’m sure…
    There could be many other facilites provided…if they like the sun…and water…
    why not have therapies out under the sun, and have a normal shower…
    .
    .
    if the mind could be diverted into sitting in luxuries bath tubs, swimming pools, to pamper yourself….
    the same mind can be diverted to pamper in other forms and overlook the needs of pools and bath tubs…i think they shud stop installing bath tubs in hotels…
    .
    .
    don’t tell me bath tub is the only method of relaxing..of utilising water which could be filling someones needs somewhere…
    .
    .
    It’s a global issue this water problem…
    .
    .
    unless they don’t put joint efforts, in every small manner, nothing really is going to solve it..
    .
    .
    action is needed, not just small notice cards left in hotel bathrooms, please use towels and water in proper manner, save water
    .
    .
    farm houses banned from swimmng pools….
    but I guess our politicians will not impose such things, where will they fill their pockets from? if they create blocks for the richer class/business class…
    this is CRAP.
    .
    .
    Cheers!!

  11. Mee says:

    Well … the world and India need crazy ideas to change things, because the conventional way of thinking is not working anymore. Time we all thought differently as time is running out and solutions are needed badly:(

  12. Hugs ! When people like you set example, we follow. Well done sirjee. Well done.
    Claps ! Claps ! Claps !

  13. Harb says:

    Dear Shekhar, relax yaar, like universal matter and energy which can neither be created nor destroyed water too will not go anywhere.
    Don’t get entangled in changing forms. There were times when there was no oxygen but then when times came for the arrival of entities like homo sapiens which had to have oxygen for breathing the universal scheme of things created/manufactured it from itself.
    Not wasting water in your normal living will be enough.
    Harb

  14. Sridhar…you make me feel sorry for you which is not good because it makes my ego feel bigger…but you sound so lost…success means what? So you have a greater right to water than your neighbour! Geez….
    Shekhar as always you are so wonderful! The lake does look a sad sight! And I don’t know why things are always so synchronous for me since the last yr or so and with everyone I interact but just this morning…driving to work…you see I was thinking about this water topic again…
    You see last night on the Intent community a member there asked to pick my head as I was mentioning congrats! to him on fine tuning something to use vege oil in a experimental vehicle he is using. And so I then said although as an oil company employee well…but that I see it that in the future we will all just re-engineer and re-train so we will just then all be energy engineers doesn’t matter if the energy no longer comes from oil…
    So then he wanted to pick my brains on using algae to harness energy something he was reading but was above his grasp scientifically perhaps…
    But it made me wonder more and more this morning about my role as an engineer in Oil and Gas and I do work in a the area of water treatment as one of my things…it again reminded me how one day we can actually be a water company not an oil company! And of that statement I recall making at a water treatment conf and recalling here in the past too…One day water will be as valuable to man as oil and people will be meeting all over to discuss how to win more off it!
    Guess we will all be water engineers then!
    But made me wonder why even now at depressed oil prices I could find a way to convince or sell to management a way to start mining water! It would be cool if we could do it from now and perhaps store it instead of waiting and wasting! 🙂
    But as I was questioning my function in the company and kept thinking how much my work revolves around emulsions a big headache in the oil industry is to get rid of the water from the oil…lift more oil less water…but what if we could see the water as valuable! 🙂
    But of course more people see things like Sridhar perhaps and a lot less like you and me…And anyway as soon as somethign is seen as valuable anyway people will find ways to market it and sell it and profit from it solely! I mean look at the whole global bottle water craze already!
    Naive many will call us…but I wish yep people would really one day realise how little we all each need and what is really important…things like fresh, clean, drinking water for all…and if everyone didn’t think like Sridhar and more like for the all instead of the one…we could probably all have it…but the world continue to be a maze of entanglements of contracts, money, economies, false senses of self etc…all hail the ego I guess! And I know I’m not perfect either…but I tried to see where to go…and for you doing that too I salute you Shekhar ji! 🙂

  15. Horst Vollmann says:

    Dear Shekhar:
    When we have such pangs of bad conscience where do we go from there? The slum that you saw from the hotel window, as close as it appears to be, may as well be on the moon. That is the felt distance between the two realities we are dealing with in our daily lives. One reality has to do with the existence of the haves and the other with the have nots. I have belabored that very subject on your blog many times and have increasingly realized that our societies are terribly flawed in their concept to distribute wealth.
    Over the last century the large experiments in establishing an equitable social system by introducing communism have failed, albeit some countries are still in a state of denial. As we can now safely say capitalism, the widely heralded alternative, has not kept its early promise and has rather turned into a sordid tool to promote elitism and to exploit the vast masses of humanity. All the learned and celebrated theorists of the past have failed to include one important calculus in their sophisticated treatises: human greed and the inherent unwillingness to truly share good fortunes with others. The current worldwide economic crisis is considerably more than just a down phase in the endless chain of cyclical undulations. I think it is a worldwide awakening to a reality that can no longer be sustained. There will be an increasing number of Shekhars who are exceedingly unwilling to act as though all is well and to view the misery of billions of people as something so abstract as to be virtually non-existent. The dynasties of wealth will eventually tumble and in the sobering aftermath there will be profound changes to prevent a recurrence of the excesses that have incurred our collective wrath. Conspicuous consumption are becoming dirty words, fabulous riches are no longer viewed with benign envy but rather as a growing irritant. People are increasingly stacking up their own limited lives against the charmed realities of the ones who cannot even fathom the concept of daily survival and who know of no existential fear that too many of us have to live with.
    All great upheavals in human history have been fed by the dissatisfaction of the masses and their inability to improve their lives. We may very well be in the early throes of such a moment. I think there is now an incredible opportunity for introspection, for the exchange of thought processes to try to establish a new, more equitable world order in which 80 % of humanity is not just simply ignored but is given a chance to live with dignity rather than in shame that abject poverty engenders. We must afford them the same respect we all expect from each other.
    With kind regards.
    Horst

  16. harijim says:

    There is not much of a water problem where I live nor are there any slums.So I would say I can understand the problem but not feel it.
    Probably that is the reason why I could never fathom your curious attachment to this particular topic while the whole world is going nuts over many other pertinent problems.
    Just over the border we have a nuclear bomb almost slipping into the hands of Taliban for instance.And the west shouting NATO NATO again north of the Arabian sea.Whats a north atlantic org. doing here?Does SAARC need strengthning.How important are these general elections for India which will shed light on the next five years to come.What’s going on in north Sri Lanka-are civilians being wiped out?
    I hope the world lives to solve the water problem if not the ice age(climate change) itself.Given the economic mess we might need doing more than just talking.And the most awkward thing is I don’t even know what I can do and how.
    With all that I think I know am I just one vote.Is this my Universe or am I just living in my mind’s world while my actual value to reality is zilch? Am I just feeling naively glad about writing on a star director’s blog who might only be giving a public vent through it and keeping himself from looking aloof.Whats really going on?
    ***********
    MY QUESTION TO YOU IS THIS SHEKHAR:
    Can cinema be a tool for political change and can we make a film in 2 months flat here in India that will have a definitive effect on the coming elections and the whole region in general?

  17. brahmastra says:

    The cycles will continue, the tides will rise and fall. Beneath all the chaos is absolute peace and harmony. This machine is ultimately a benevolent one, to merge the individual into the bliss of the whole. But, the annihilation of the ego, at individual and collective levels is not a comfortable journey, and at certain points in time, this discomfort reaches its heights to induce spiritual self-inquiry..which is probably the status of the world now and may be in the near future. Some say these are the best times for spiritually ripe souls.

  18. Harb says:

    Sometimes physical action is more visible but less in value than the mental action.
    Mental action is more visible but less in value than the spiritual action.
    May be by mental action here on the blog (writing here) we are spreading a certain kind of awareness, which will eventually seep down to the general populace finally to be clothed with physical action some day.
    May be by spiritual action – by simply being aware of the problem but not even writing – we are raising the general vibrational frequency of the environment. Which will eventually increase general awareness of the masses even further.
    Perhaps it is in this light that when somebody asked Ramana, why you are not doing any work, he said, how do you know that I am not doing any work? It is a fact that people who came close to Ramana felt their vibrations rising. I felt the same even when he was no more when once I visited his Ashram at Trivunnamalai. This is the effect of change in vibrations in a particular atmosphere.
    So rest assured everybody, nothing is going waste.
    H
    PS: That is not to say though that Cinema cannot be a tool of societal change. A film on Ramkrishana in which Mithun played Ramakrishana almost sent me into samadhi in the cinema hall itsef. Though it is a pity and reflection on the times that I could not find it in cinema halls later, or even as a DVD.

  19. Nandu Nair says:

    I came across your website while surfing and I got engaged by the content you are sharing on your blog. I am impressed by your insights and I am sure that the insights can help all of us move forward and help the society progress ahead.
    I agree that we need to be the change we want to see in this world.
    I think the value of water will increase over time. One can read more at http://bit.ly/qJFnC

  20. Mani says:

    Hello Mr. Kapur
    Hope you are well. Happened to visit your site after a while. And just found it so funny ( its the wrong word ) that you made an entry about hot tub bath and slums because I was just preparing for a talk tomm. at a uni here in Hkg about Pachamama Alliance ( an environment group) that I have recently got involved with and also my vision as a young filmmaker and if we could all change our dreams to try creating an effective change in our own ways.
    Although Hkg is such a multicultural city,with a growing Indian population,I seem to be becoming a lone Indian torchbearer of sorts( daunting).
    My friends are looking at me to take the message of ‘environment sustainabilty, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice as one single issue to the Indian community in hkg and in India’.Basically its just about creating awareness so regular people can start changing their behaviour patterns. It could be as simple as showing a few slides and a video at a family dinner/colleagues/friends.
    And I immediately thought about you and your known concerns about the same stuff and the Indian film fraternity.
    Sir, please please check the links out.
    http://www.phusikoi.com, http://www.pachamama.com
    Hope to hear from you or see you sometime soon.
    Best Regards
    Mani

  21. Mani says:

    Hello Mr. Kapur
    Hope you are well. Happened to visit your site after a while. And just found it so funny ( its the wrong word ) that you made an entry about hot tub bath and slums because I was just preparing for a talk tomm. at a uni here in Hkg about Pachamama Alliance ( an environment group) that I have recently got involved with and also my vision as a young filmmaker and if we could all change our dreams to try creating an effective change in our own ways.
    Although Hkg is such a multicultural city,with a growing Indian population,I seem to be becoming a lone Indian torchbearer of sorts( daunting).
    My friends are looking at me to take the message of ‘environment sustainabilty, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice as one single issue to the Indian community in hkg and in India’.Basically its just about creating awareness so regular people can start changing their behaviour patterns. It could be as simple as showing a few slides and a video at a family dinner/colleagues/friends.
    And I immediately thought about you and your known concerns about the same stuff and the Indian film fraternity.
    Sir, please please check the links out.
    http://www.phusikoi.com, http://www.pachamama.com
    Hope to hear from you or see you sometime soon.
    Best Regards
    Mani

  22. Harb says:

    An abbreviated version of the article “Mass Migrations and War: Dire climate scenario” by one Charles J. Hanley from Yahoo news
    CAPE TOWN, South Africa If we don’t deal with climate change decisively what we’re talking about then is extended world war preceded by mass migrations setting off mass conflicts. Somehow we have to explain to people just how worrying that is, the British economic thinker Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a major British government report detailing the cost of climate change, said.
    Understandings will be vital in this “year of climate,” as the world’s nations and their negotiators count down toward a U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen in December, target date for concluding a grand new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol the 1997 agreement, expiring in 2012, to reduce carbon dioxide and other global-warming emissions by industrial nations.
    Later, at dinner, the heavyweights heard from smaller or poorer nations about the trials they face as warming disrupts climate, turns some regions drier, threatens food production in poor African nations.
    Jose Endundo, environment minister of Congo, said he recently visited huge Lake Victoria in nearby Uganda, at 80,000 square kilometers (31,000 square miles) a vital source for the Nile River, and learned the lake level had dropped 3 meters (10 feet) in the past six years a loss blamed in part on warmer temperatures and diminishing rains.
    In the face of such threats, “the rich countries have to give us a helping hand,” the African minister said.
    But it was Stern, former chief World Bank economist, who on Saturday laid out a case to his stranded companions in sobering PowerPoint detail.
    If the world’s nations act responsibly, Stern said, they will achieve “zero-carbon” electricity production and zero-carbon road transport by 2050 by replacing coal power plants with wind, solar or other energy sources that emit no carbon dioxide, and fossil fuel-burning vehicles with cars running on electric or other “clean” energy.
    Then warming could be contained to a 2-degree-Celsius (3.4-degree-Fahrenheit) rise this century, he said.
    But if negotiators falter, if emissions reductions are not made soon and deep, the severe climate shifts and sea-level rises projected by scientists would be “disastrous.”
    It would “transform where people can live,” Stern said. “People would move on a massive scale. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of people would have to move if you talk about 4-, 5-, 6-degree increases” 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And that would mean extended global conflict, “because there’s no way the world can handle that kind of population move in the time period in which it would take place.”
    Melting ice, rising seas, dwindling lakes and war the stranded ministers had a lot to consider. But many worried, too, that the current global economic crisis will keep governments from transforming carbon-dependent economies just now. For them, Stern offered a vision of working today on energy-efficient economies that would be more “sustainable” in the future.

  23. austere says:

    off topic and perhaps not;
    Have you noticed how garish wedding invites suddenly seem, false-gem encrusted, silk lined and all? Makes one wonder what recession, where recession, and which world the desperate diamond polishers of Surat inhabit.
    Different worlds, I guess.
    For how many would a twinge of conscience cause a permanent change in behavior?

  24. Vivek says:

    Yes you are right in a certain way. But you were tired and needed a hot bath; you do it once a week perhaps or ocassionally.
    What is required from all individuals is, we need to be very concious of the water usage. Like turning off the tap while brushing, repairing a leaky tap right away, showering and daydreaming for an hour, etc. Judicious use of water is required.
    Some of us suffer from “I will use how much ever I want, I pay my bills, so whats your problem?”; we will realise when the ever dependable monsoon fails.
    Are you including wars over water? I think some country/state must have fought over access to river. Will it be a good perspective for your film?

  25. manoj mohnaty says:

    Water
    Many a time i walked
    A well beaten track
    In my search for water
    Cool clear water
    It was hot and dry
    The sun hung high
    When i searched for water
    Cool clear water
    Mischief’, the blue healer and i
    Searched low and high
    So we could taste the water
    Cool clear water
    The creek we found
    Low in the ground
    We bathed ourselves with water
    Life giving water
    Cool clear water

  26. Meena Waghray says:

    My sister is a documentary Film maker and is making a documentary on water.
    Its about the issue itself.I don’t know what your film is about..the issue itself or an film inspiring the masses to save water!!
    You have the most powerful medium on hand which works like nothing else-movies and Shekarji you enjoy the acceptability of people especially after your presence on the reality show.
    Trust me I always lost respect for the judges on reality shows…but not this one.All the three of you were so dignified throughout.Thanks.
    Why cannot your film be an in your face message which triggers the masses reaction to save water…
    The sleek films may get awards..but the masses don’t really care.
    I strongly feel that the most powerful medium is the media and a good movie a good ad will appeal to millions and a sure way of making an impact.
    Like our ads.”Jagore”,It had a strong impact and people went out and voted and registered themselves simply because of the Ad.
    Then the movie Tare Zameen par..it changed the way parents look at children ..else there is no other medium in India which motivates or inspires people to change the way people enmasse think.
    Please make films like that.
    Regards Meena

  27. While we are on ‘hot-water baths,’ here is a documentary on bathing traditions and water rituals in 13 countries:

    http://tinyurl.com/29se3te

    🙂

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