Is that tap water the austere madam is drinking?

KPN photo

After having flagged off a very bogus drama on “austerity” in New Delhi, the Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi sips a glass of ordinary, municipal, tap water that the drought-affected aam admi and aam aurat of India consume, at the inauguration of the global education centre at the Infosys campus in Mysore on Tuesday.

Either that, or Ms Gandhi does not believe in drinking treated, bottled, “mineral” water straight from the bottle.

Meanwhile, Sudha Murthy, the spouse of the original “Mr Austere”, N.R. Narayana Murthy, takes a swig of Aquafina. Either that, or Mr Murthy filled an empty bottle with ordinary, municipal tap water that the drought-affected aam admi and aam aurat consume, before they left for the inauguration in a KSRTC bus to Hootagalli.

Photographs: Narayan Yadav/ Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Biggest. Largest. Highest. Mostest. Anywhere.

Sure austerity begins at home, but not my home

Is the Indian media losing touch with reality?

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30 Responses to “Is that tap water the austere madam is drinking?”

  1. TKM Says:

    Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani(Coca Cola) are nothing but purified tap water.
    Drinking safe water, especially during travel is a matter of safety, not luxury. Whether these packaged drinking water is safe or not is another matter. Of course the tap water should be safe to drink even without boiling.. and not pumped from some water tanks filled with algae and decaying organic matter like dead birds and skeletons. Fault the leaders for not making the tap water potable, and not for drinking bottled water!!!

  2. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Bottled water is probably the most bogus product thought up by marketeers of the West to loot the unsuspecting (and gullible) public. For example in the USA – everywhere tap water is safe to drink (and checked and certified in most places too) and costs a few cents for thousands of gallons. Yet people have willingly allowed profit seeking looters to create a multi-billion dollar industry just to bottle water in a plastic container and sell it to them with a markup of more than 1000%? (after some ‘processing’ – why do you need to process water anyway? To make it bad for health?).

    In India of course it must be easier for marketeers since government supplied water and the infrastructure in many places is compromised due to lack of resources, our unsanitary habits etc. But still boiled water carried in containers is still far-far cheaper than anything a bottled water manufacturer has to offer.

    It is amazing we Indian consumers foolishly follow the mistakes of our Western counterparts!

    Search throws up some good links:

    And a more detailed study:

  3. S Says:

    And the motive of this post is?

  4. Hiker Says:

    How do you know what “tuo signora” is drinking is indeed tap water?

  5. devadiga Says:

    Madame is here on a mission to learn the ‘Art of Austerity’ from the legends themselves who just passed of a celebrity wedding as a simple wedding.

  6. RnS Says:

    This is stooping too low. Politics-u, IT looti ella OK, but complaining about people drinking mineral water is ridiculous.

    Regarding this austerity business, how will being austere help anything? This reminds of me Bertrand Russell’s most excellent essay, In Praise of Idleness (
    Here’s small quote from there:

    “As long as a man spends his income, he puts just as much bread into people’s mouths in spending as he takes out of other people’s mouths in earning. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment.”

  7. Gouri Satya Says:

    Nothing like ‘neeru’ from ‘Rail Chombu’!

  8. cool Says:

    good observation :)

  9. Uday Shetty Says:

    Utter non-sense post. Does the blogger went and see whether Sonia drinking water itself? … Congress people have bought media in this country. Total s***

  10. Janasamanya Says:

    What a crap.

  11. punda Says:

    Passing off fancy as austere is not an easy thing and these people are champions at it. Be it a wedding or a lifestyle. It is termed ‘compassionate capitalism’.

  12. Anand Bala Says:

    Bottled water is probably one of the most ignored forms of corporate environmental vandalism in this country.
    Beverage companies such as Coke and Pepsi have developed fairly nasty reputations in villages around their bottling plants for the volume of water that they pull from the water table and pollution that they spread.
    Pepsi though has to take the cake.
    They have recognized that there is a resistance at the grass-root level for their brand of capitalist exploitation. As well planned counter-measure they are launching a beverage with medicinal properties to treat Anemia. I think they should focus on stopping the exploitation of water resources.

  13. avi Says:

    We can make out how happy you (churumuri) are!

  14. Vijay Says:

    “before they left for the inauguration in a KSRTC bus to Hootagalli.”– that was a fantastic swipe..

  15. karihaida Says:

    if you think bottled water is a scam, how about Propel ‘fitness water’, ;)
    Lewis Black has a pretty colorful standup bit on bottled water.

    PS: How long before someone comes up with ‘Viagra’ water?

  16. Anonymous Guy Says:


    That is the next step of looting. For now in India it is just plain water put in a plastic bottle sold at a 1000% markup. Same people who shell out money for this scam complain about cost of fruit/vegetables/Indian farmers getting subsidies etc.

  17. Abhi Says:

    AG and Karihaida, Bottled water is a necessity in India. Unfortunately, tap water here is quite unlike it is in CA. Try having tap water next time you are here and see how long will you survive.

    BTW, this austerity angle of the blog is quite hilarious :)

  18. Indu Ramesh Says:

    talking about austerity, does anyone remember how the whole country missed ameal a week when LakBahadur Shastri asked? I remember mothers asking the kids to eat one more roti for lunch because there would be only fruits for dinner. Then there was MorarjiBhai Desai asking women not to go in for 22carot gold. Everybody went to to get jewellry made of 14carat gold. We really are a country of hypocrites.

  19. rajachandra Says:

    In the News clip shown in all the News Channels, one bottle of Aquafina and one Glass Tumbler each was placed on a small side table for all the dignitaries present. Obviously Mrs. Gandhi used Tumbler to drink water where as Mrs. Murthy took a direct swig from the bottle.

    It is obvious, you are a master of malicious misinformation !

  20. Anonymous Guy Says:


    How is bottled water a necessity in India? Did bottled water solve any problem after it was introduced?

    BTW – what prevents you from boiling (or filtering) water before drinking it? And for portability you can bottle water yourself and carry it around right? A person who buys bottled water surely has access to this basic stuff right.

    I suggest you read the first link I posted carefully about the very real problems bottled water sold at ridiculous markups introduces. And this more so in a nation like ours where the methods of producing this bottled water and its plastic bottles causes more problems to the people and environment than it solves for the people who can (foolishly) afford to buy this stuff.

    Of course you can tie it down to free market, choice and the foolishness of the consumer, but then we could use the same argument for selling drugs, guns, bombs in Indian markets too next.

    Let shops carry bottled water at whatever price they choose, and ads spend ridiculous amounts touting its benefits.

    It is upto the consumers to reject the culture paying a kings ransom for something like water.

    What next? Bottled air?

  21. karihaida Says:

    but there is still hope.. Those thais are only selling fruit juices.
    We can take it a notch higher and make it for water itself, with the 0 calorie, 0 sodium BS label :) Or we could pitch this idea to Mr. Ramdev and he can market a herbal version of it.

  22. Arrorw Says:

    Expect only Churumuri to stoop to such low levels of vilification.
    And this, which quotes “The Hindu” as the bible in another post conveniently forgets to quote the same Hindu on austerity –

    Rahul Gandhi’s flying visit to Tamil Nadu cost over Rs.1 crore –

    CHENNAI: “As a politician, you have a duty to be austere,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters here last week during his tour of Tamil Nadu. But the travel bill the Congress general secretary toted up during his three-day visit down south ran to seven figures, not exactly a sum the word “austerity” conjures up. At about Rs.1.5 lakh an hour for a helicopter, and Rs. 1.1 lakh an hour for the Beechcraft aircraft that Mr. Gandhi used for most of the long haul, his Tamil Nadu darshan would have cost the Indian National Youth Congress over Rs. 1 crore in helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft hire charges, The Hindu has established.

    The 2006 Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft, operated by the New Delhi-based Air Charter Services Private Limited, has a 10 per cent plus service charge too. The crew in both instances need to be looked after by the persons hiring the aircraft. Added to this is the expense of the SPG, which tailed the Pawan Hans helicopter in an Army helicopter.

    Mr. Gandhi, who was on a day-long whirlwind tour to southern districts on September 8, used a Pawan Hans helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram after arriving there in the Beechcraft (VT-ACD).

    On his way back from Coimbatore, Mr. Gandhi took an eight-seater Falcon 2000 aircraft to New Delhi. It belonged to the Mumbai-based TajAir. According to the Taj website (, a New Delhi-Coimbatore one-way trip costs Rs. 20,31,250. “All flights originate from Mumbai. Thus, the fare is calculated ex-Mumbai and back,” the website explains.

    The Congress leader hopped from Thiruvananthapuram to Nagercoil to Tirunelveli to Virudhunagar and to the Madurai Kamaraj University on the first day. After an overnight halt at the Circuit House in Madurai, he left for Thanjavur by the Beechcraft on day two. According to back-of-the-envelope calculations by airport sources, with the Thiruvananthapuram-Madurai trip and the overnight halt of the helicopter, the total cost incurred would be close to Rs. 15 lakh.

    On day two, he landed at the Indian Air Force strip in Thanjavur. After meeting people and Youth Congress workers, he left by the same aircraft for Puducherry where he met PCC office-bearers. He hopped on to a helicopter for Villupuram and Vellore. Later in the day, after his engagements at Vellore, he flew into the nearby Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, INS Rajali, in a helicopter, before taking the B-350 to Chennai.

    From Chennai to Hosur, Mr. Gandhi travelled by the same B-350. A TNCC source said the party paid Rs. 7,500 for landing and parking to Taneja Aerospace for the use of a private airstrip at Hosur. Mr. Gandhi took the same aircraft to Salem and from there to Coimbatore.

    Foolproof security

    Salem airport authorities said all charges for the landing and ground handling at Salem were paid in Chennai itself, as the Salem airport did not have normal operations. The same aircraft was used to reach Coimbatore. For landing, parking, and route navigation, the Coimbatore airport collected a total of Rs. 6,800 from both the operators. Besides, Rs. 1,500 was paid to a private firm for ground handling.

    A senior police official, when contacted, said Mr. Gandhi’s movement by road was restricted to the extent possible in Tamil Nadu. Foolproof security arrangements were imperative in the backdrop of heightened threat to the VVIP perceived by Central and State intelligence agencies.

    Besides having in place a three-tier security shield for Rahul Gandhi, who is also protected by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG), the State police chalked out an elaborate scheme for his protection based on specific inputs.

    Citing reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the police official said a handful of top Sikh militants and cadres of the Lashkar-e-Taiba met at an undisclosed destination in Pakistan recently and allegedly decided to target Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani, and Mr. Gandhi.

    Further, reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) indicated the movement of a suspected Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadre and a sympathiser along the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu.

    The last communication was intercepted in the last week of March 2009 and it appeared the suspects were organising the movement of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. “Reports in a section of the media that appeared in the United Kingdom alleged that India had extended military support to Sri Lanka in the war against the LTTE. The resentment has surfaced as hostility to Rahul Gandhi,” the official added.

  23. Polldaddy Says:

    10174 Rate this article down.

  24. mysore peshva Says:

    sudha murthy avaru enjil maaDade, maDinaa avarisikonDu kuDitha iddare. dilli inda bandiruva maDam enjil maaDkondu kuDitha iddare.

  25. sathya Says:

    Going by the Press reports , at least those two ladies were lucky to drink water on that day. Even journalists were not allowed to go to the cafeteria and the whole work force ws not allowed to move out for nearly three hours. That is discipline and work culture. There are many ways of pleasing people at the right places. One should cultivate that habit. Neeru kuDiyuvudu bere, neeru kuDisuvudu bere. Bereyavarige yaava neerannadaroo kuDisabahudu.

  26. Faldo Says:

    Nice one @Mysore Peshva. Some other interesting possibilities. No offence intended.
    One madam was served temperature controlled filtered water in a glass while the other madam had to make do with gulping the liquid directly from a bottle which had to be shared with several others.

    One madam shows her cultured side by sipping water from a glass while the other gulps it down directly from the bottle.

  27. Gouri Satya Says:

    The journos who were confined to the media room from 8-30 a.m., four hours before the function began, had no breakfast or lunch. Many of them had to have their late lunch at home around 5 pm! Discipline!

  28. tsubba Says:

    saar this issiya(issue) i also said. vonly, being tarle i said in ghaaTu phrase.
    finest of airopean glassware only one medammu is drinking. how can we tell if she is drinking the finest of fluorosis inducing borewell waters of tumkur and raichur? all drinking in loTa means austerity-na i asked. yeDiTru didn’t like it-u. kacha kacha anta katri tagonDu yeDiT maadbuTTru. i also said holding bakit and koDtaple like this is in public is not guDDu, i feel shy watching it only, why not go beyond the yeri and behind the gadde and play sodar maava and akkan magaLu game, i asked. englis naage incestuous gemu antaaralla adu.

  29. Arrow Says:

    Gauri Satya Sir!

    You can expect Infosys to demand for free lands from govts but you cannot expect Infosys to do provide complementary breakfast/Lunch :))

  30. Faldo Says:

    @tsubba – Nice one. enu nimma comments jote nimma hesarannu kattarisibuTTra? enu tarle maadadirali nanmaga anta! LOL :)

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