Sunday, 22 September 2013


Carbonated drinks, diet sodas and soft drinks are certainly harmful for our health. These bottled liquids are not the prudent alternatives for the free plain clean drinking water. Even, the chilled bottled water sold in the markets by the retailers and ‘manufactured’ by the multinational companies and local small entrepreneurs is actually, a booby-trap into which, we are running fast; perspiring.

The funny thing about this exotic and ‘scientifically’ claimed cleaned water having harmful impurities and disease causing bacteria has an ‘expiry’ date. But, wait a second and tell me as to how can a natural resource like water, expires? At best, it can be impure or stale, but certainly cannot expire so fast.

In the developing countries, mostly, water sold in plastic pouches and bottles, in fact, contain contaminated/impure water or the water supplied by the local municipalities or other government bodies for which we shell out exorbitant prices. Due to the ease of availability through a network of roadside business outlets, the people fall prey to the nefarious designs of heavy profit booking unscrupulous ‘manufactures’ and traders of water.

In the absence of stringent check on the water quality, soft drink or diet soda sold in the market, by the concerned government bodies; the gullible consumers are left in the lurch, unwittingly ingesting heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria in quite liberal doses putting in jeopardy their own health. At times, as reported in the local and national media we read glaring instances of ‘liquid woes’ discovered by some lucky consumers and alert scientists. They come into focus due to the chance observation by the consumers, of queer foreign objects like pieces of hairs, nails, parts of insects or flies, cockroaches, etc. safely ensconced inside their drinks.  People read these media stories in amusement or discuss in their leisure/official times with near & dear ones or the curious but unimpressed bystanders for a good laugh but hardly find it horrible. Many prefer to close their eyes and happily receive a replacement bottle of the same liquid form the vendor—coming from the same factory and having the same batch number, at times with glee.

In the developing world, gulping of soft drinks, diet sodas and bottled water has become a status symbol. Anyone who carries his/her water bottle to work is considered ‘puritan’, ‘traditional’ or ‘too much of a health freak’. It is just out of fashion, not only in the towns, cities, metropolis and megalopolis; but sadly even in small villages too the trend has become a vogue.  

Now a day, go to any meeting, conference, marriage ceremony, birthday party or other social event; you will discover that it has become customary to supply bottled water and soft drinks to the assembled guests and invitees. It has emerged as a standard of conduct in the society and the reliance on a ‘product’ called water but not ‘the humble water.’

Not to be outdone, the ‘manufactures’ of water, resort to innovative advertising blitzkrieg, by introducing ever, newer types of bottles and bonuses of five, ten or even 10 percent of extra water or soft liquids for the ‘benefit’ of the thirsty water consumers; as special incentives on the festive and also not so festive occasions intermittently throughout the year, to remain ahead in the market. The ever expanding water and soft drink market makes the government happy in collecting hefty taxes extremely helpful in balancing the deficit budget and gain accolade from the perspective voters. Apart from encouraging the citizens to consume more and more soft drinks, diet sodas and bottled water to quench their gargantuan thirst, it also saves the day, by saving the people from acute dehydration; I mean the government of the day. Additionally, for the extra thirsty folks, there is also a very old provision of supply of varieties of hard drinks so that the gentlemen and ladies can gulp down the stuff via their burning throat! It is true that some of them just sip it as law abiding subjects of the state. Yet, at the end these hot drinks take them nowhere. These drinkers usually get frequently dehydrated but found to complain to no one except God.

Currently, we have almost forgotten to drink the primordial liquid that made life possible in our beautiful planet, with other concoction. In the not so distant past, we knew how to procure, preserve and clean water for our consumption but now prefer to pretend in forget it. It is a shame and gigantic scam that human beings have become the sellers and buyers of water and other artificial liquids to nurture their bodies at the expense of the naturally available ones, like various seasonal fruit juices. Now, while the green coconut remains a slow moving item in the bazaar, the factory manufactured artificially flavored drinks are having a run. At the end most probably, we are just going to poisoning our bodies, because of our altered preferences.

The major culprits in this sordid saga are the plastic packaging, greed for profits, adulteration, consumerism, rapid urbanization and our hectic lifestyles that alienate us from nature.