First, the taps dried out.
The tourist who brought in revenue was suddenly a social pariah. Warm smiles quickly turned into direct rebukes. The price of drinking water skyrocketed. Schools shut down. Slowly, the town emptied out.
This isn’t some dystopian drama on Netflix. This was the summer of 2018 in the erstwhile summer capital and the north Indian hill station favourite, Shimla.
In many ways, Shimla is a petri-dish problem that reflects the larger issue. It has all the ingredients of a crisis—drying aquifers, old leaky infrastructure underground and a sluggish utility provider that woke up a tad late.