Bubbles. Flavored. All colors of the rainbow.

Drinks are no longer an experience limited to a single sense. Every sip has to be an experience, a rollercoaster of emotions as the liquid rushes down your throat, bubbling in your mouth. Sweet, sour, tangy, bitter, mellow – drinks are now no longer flat notes meant to satisfy thirst. They are symbols of celebration, glasses raised high, filled to the brim with bubbly champagne in good cheer. They are symbols of reflection, somber thoughts paired with a chilled bottle of beer. They are symbols of wild memories, shots of vodka, and unforgettable nights. They are symbols of a night of board games paired with pizza and a glass of cola; picnics in the park with sandwiches and orange juice. Drinks are now available in every shape and form, each tastefully catered to every occasion, instance, and emotion. 

But amongst these plethoras of options, which one is the best?

Is it the carbonated cola that fizzles in your mouth? The sweet nostalgia of orange juice, a reminder of our childhood? Is it the warm milk we all had before bedtime, or the sharp tinge of tequila, the burning in our stomach? Or maybe it is the fruity, Rhenish wine, or a Rose, or maybe even a simple glass of cider. It is hard to generalize, but – as the Principle of Parsimony so rightly states – the answer is probably the simplest one: a compound flowing through our veins right at this moment. 

Water.

The wonder liquid, the natural medicine, the very thing that is the building block of life. But what makes water the ultimate drink? 

Well for that, let’s take a quick history lesson.

The year is 12000 BCE, a time that marked the early stages of the Neolithic era – the new Stone Age. The sun sears over the Fertile Crescent, and descending from the mighty Taurus Mountains are the Tigris and the Euphrates, two swift, blue, unblemished rivers. But that’s not all that is distinctive about this area that is known as the ‘’cradle of civilization’’ – along the banks of the two rivers are small huts, evidence of farming and pastoralism, and scattered stone tablets, scratchy Sumerian characters engraved on them. And people; thousands and thousands of them. Each of them is organized into different groups and stratum, each with a different role to carry out; the very first model of our modern society – the very first civilization. 

And this is what sets water apart. 

Since the beginning of time, water has formed the crux of our existence. It is vital for survival, a very fundamental human need that if unsatisfied, can be fatal. It forms the basis of the water cycle, provides a habitat for numerous aquatic flora and fauna, and is the solvent of life. It was along the banks of these bodies of water that the first civilizations emerged – Mesopotamia near the Tigris and Euphrates, the Egyptians along the Nile, and the Indus Valley Civilization on the edges of the Indus. It was water that provided the initial platform for life to thrive, whether it was the first unicellular organism in its depths on a newly formed Earth, or cities of people, organized within the framework of society. It is water and our need for it that formed one of the stepping stones for the culmination of our world as a whole, which is why it is undisputedly the best drink. 

The importance of water, however, has been overshadowed in the recent past. We have taken it for granted. We have forgotten our roots, that our very birthplace, our origin, was in its deep blue depths. We have forgotten that before bright, neon, artificial liquids we now guzzle was a natural solution to our thirst. We have forgotten that it is this very water than we use to wash away the grime and dirt from our bodies, that it is this very water a farmer uses to grow his crops to put food on the table; we have forgotten that it is this very water that man depended on for his evolution.

We have underestimated our need for this resource. We have overestimated the durability of these chemically-flavored products to sustain us and life on this Earth. 

It is water, in the end, that we crave in the middle of a hot, blistering summer day. It is water that we crave after a long hike, water that runs through the streams that cut across mountains and valleys – the cerulean veins of this planet. It is water that sets us apart from the inky darkness of the solar system and has laid the cornerstone of life, water that provides a home for aquatic flora and fauna. It is water that is the world’s best drink. Not apple juice, not alcohol, not cider. Water. The natural medicine, the wonder liquid, the only drink that matters.

By Atyantika Mookherjee, Kochi, Kerala

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