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Unusual but true: Call me madam

Updated: 2015-06-05 09:01

'Water wives' do tough but vital job

Unusual but true: Call me madam

A woman carries water in a plastic pot during a heat wave in her home near Bangalore, India, May 26, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Men in drought-stricken Indian villages often take a second or even a third wife only to bring water to the family. They make several long trips to distant water sources every day, carrying large vats of water.

The men only have children with their first wives, while the others' sole purpose is to provide water for the family, in exchange for a roof over their heads and the social status of wife. They are paaniwaali bais, 'water wives'.

Finding women willing to take on the burden of a 'water wife' is no easy matter. They are usually those who have been abandoned by former husbands or widows.

On any given day, a 'water wife' will fetch more than 100 liters of water from a source located up to 3 kilometers away, making several trips and when it's too hot, at night.


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