Ismael of Nachna hasn't heard of York, but he certainly knows about Lunkaransar, just across the district boundary in Bikaner. The recent flooding in York would, of course, neither faze nor interest him. What happened, identically, in Lunkaransar prior to York is another matter though. The rain came in torrents, or to use its Indian English equivalent, the cloud burst over Lunkaransar. The rain was like nothing as yet experienced, even by the old-timers. Centred on Lunkaransar, the water fell in inches even in parts of Jaisalmer district, particularly around Nokh. And then, to worsen the plight of the farmers, the water stayed. A litre of water will vanish in a matter of seconds in the desert, but this time the water stayed. As it had in 1999, on the way from Jaisalmer to Ramgarh. That water-logging was caused by the sub-soil presence of some chemical formation which ends its name with a 'mite'. But the Lunkaransar episode was altogether different and it was understood even by those barely educated, like Ismael. "It is the canal," he said.
Over years, water from the canal has been seeping into the sub-surface, thanks to the shoddiness of its construction. As children, an often-heard joke was that funds of the Rajasthan Canal have been better utilised in making various new residential colonies in Jodhpur and Bikaner. The Shastri Nagars and Nehru Parks have come up because of the canal, so people said. And the residents of Lunkaransar in 2000 AD would vouch for that. The seepage over the years has raised the water table to such an extent that one heavy rain and the soil is completely saturated. Added to that are the various raised-side channels which effectively block the water into ponds with no run-off possibilities. All this is now the topic of much discussion by Ismael and his ilk in Nachna. And portents are even worse for Nachna.