No, I'm not referring to a stringed instrument. I'm referring to my most prized water bottles. Seems a little possessive huh? Well, I guess that's true.
Indians have a unique relationship with water. With searing hot temperatures and wide spread water shortages, it's a precious commodity around here. In each home you'll find a commercial water bottle consisting of 20 litres of drinking water. You'll also find the fridge filled with smaller half litre and one litre bottles that have been filled and kept for chilling. Since we don't get chilled water from the tap here, we'll stuff as many water bottles in the fridge as possible so that we always have something cool and ready to drink. We'll also ensure that wherever we go, we carry a water bottle with us.
This brings me to my Cellos. We have "home" water bottles and we have "outside" water bottles. The home water bottles are bottles we purchased in a 3 or 6 pack that are generally sort of decorative and that we fill and keep at home. We then have our recycled bottles, like used soda bottles, juice bottles, etc. that we refill and also keep chilled. These are handy to use when you're going out, because you can take one with you, and when it's empty you can throw it away, rather than having to haul around an empty bottle with you.
When we first moved here, we had picked up a cheap six pack of bottles from a local shop. Within a few months they got really stinky and no amount of dish soap and scrubbing would freshen them up. Our maid even tried boiling them, and we promptly discovered that the melting point of the bottle was lower than that of the water, and we ended up with plastic soup. I then set out on a mission. I wanted to find Cello brand water bottles. Plastic manufactured by Cello won't stink. You can use it over and over and the plastic will maintain its integrity and a simple rinse will have it as fresh as the day you bought it. Well, I got lucky. I found a precious six pack of Cello brand bottles. We've happily used these bottles for more than a year, consuming almost 100 litres of water a week at home, and never having to sip out of a stinky bottle.
I've developed a love affair with these bottles and I've become a protective mother hen over them. Once, we took a bottle outside, to a resort for the day, and the bottle was left behind in the friend of a friend’s car after the outing. I had to track that bottle down, almost 30 kms away and negotiate for its safe return home. I vowed to be more responsible after that. Then, once when my in-laws came, one of the bottles mysteriously returned home with them. When I saw my co-sister (my husband’s brothers wife) using it, I had to design and execute a covert operation to retrieve the bottle. I literally had to stalk it and sneak around for a few weeks until I was able to snatch it and hide it from her until I could smuggle it into my bag and take it home. It took me a while, but I was successful and the bottle was returned to its rightful refrigerator. I've maintained these six bottles for almost 2 years and I've done so with pride. Now, again, two bottles have gone missing. I suspect my landlady borrowed them and somehow they never made it home. I can assure you, if she borrowed them I wasn't around because I NEVER lend them out. If anyone comes to the door asking for water (sounds weird but it happens more than you would think) then they get a used orange juice or coke bottle because I don't have to worry about them returning it.
The hunt goes on for the missing Cellos. I thought I saw my maid running around with them a week or so ago but I couldn't get a clear visual in order to confirm.
Now that we’re down in Cello count, I once again set out on a mission to replace them. To no avail. I had to settle for a cheap replacement. It makes me sad. I had a love affair with those bottles. I hope they’ll survive out in the big world all on their own.