The perils and conveniences of modern life

I woke up in the morning to no running water from the taps and I knew that I have frozen pipes. “Oh no!” I thought, “if only I had stored water to brush my teeth!”

A familiar picture crossed my mind. Growing up, my family and other families in my neighborhood in India did not have running water. We had taps which were connected to the town’s water supply. Water was delivered once in the morning and once in the afternoon except in summer when it was delivered only once or sometimes even alternate days.  We filled up every vessel and an open concrete tank with water during the precious water delivery time. Sometimes they forgot to turn off the supply at the allotted time and we would get some extra water and a very happy mother. In the end, we knew that is our total reserve and we would have to manage it somehow.

In the morning, after some struggle with the heating system, I figured out how to heat the pipes and melt the ice. Hurray! I had running water again.  Before leaving for work, I asked Oishi to make sure that the thermostat doesn’t go below a certain temperature because it was very cold outside. My super-smart, artificially intelligent thermostat from Nest had learnt that I am not home in the morning and thus happily brings down the temperature to save energy.

After a few minutes Oishi texted me, “Who is going to stand in front of the thermostat and monitor the thermostat? So I found an app that will notify me when the temperature drops below a certain point.”

I shook my head, “Really? What’s next?”

Published by

Sharmistha Das

Sharmistha Das, an Indian immigrant engineer and entrepreneur, is the author of "From Hindustan Cables Limited - Journey of a Small-Town Indian Immigrant Woman". Every South Asian woman who has immigrated to America will identify with the adventurous journey of Sharmistha Das. Born in a small rural company town of Hindustan Cables Limited in Bengal, India, Sharmistha grew up with her brother, mother and father in a simple home without running water or furniture, but with a great amount of love. Supported by her parents, she left her hometown for Kolkata and became the first female engineer from her community. After her marriage, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand and finally to America, the land of opportunity and heartache. While working and bringing up her daughter, she got her Masters in Business Administration and started her own business. Unthinkable for a girl from Hindustan Cables, she got divorced in 2012 and adapted to a new life as a single woman and as a single mother. Sharmistha’s story will inspire any women to dare to live her dreams.

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