The Last Drop


A drop of water held on precariously to the edge of the tap, about to fall way down. It was the last drop after the water supply shut down on a hot sunny, blustery day. Maya walked purposefully, a hint of uneasiness in her hurry to reach the only public tap for miles and miles around. She was late, very late. The bucket and bottles in her hands, rattled with a dull ringing sound as her pace picked up. She had overslept.

Last night had been a terrible nightmare, her father coming home drunk and beating up her mother for not having enough food to feed him. She had cowered in a corner, holding her baby brother close, horrified at the brutality of the scene unfolding in front of her. The incident had imprinted itself on her mind, as she tossed and turned all through the night. She had promised to herself that she would get up early and fetch the water so that her mother wouldn’t have to do so, given what she had to go through the night before.

As she turned around the corner, she drew a sharp intake of breath, there was nobody there! No lines, no shouting, no quarrels. The tap stood solitary, the long pipe glistening as the sun tried to evaporate the last drop hanging on for dear life.

Maya was heartbroken. What would she do now? Where would she go for water? She stood in front of the tap on wet sodden earth, trampled by dozens of feet early on during the day. Tears welled up in her eyes. They fell on her cheeks, and the last drop of water did too, into the bricked abyss below, as if on cue. The tenacity of holding on to something or some hope-giving way to helplessness and an unfathomable fear of the day ahead. 

Komal Gupta

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