Ac know ledg ments
This research on Mumbai’s water took me home to a world I did not know.
Like many in Mumbai, I had for a long time lived in the city without needing
to be conscious of the tremendous work of its social and material infrastruc-
tures. Through fieldwork, I learned of the extraordinary quotidian labor of
employees of the city’s hydraulic engineering department and those that live
in the city’s auto- constructed settlements, just to make water appear every
day in city taps. And so it is with this more mundane book. Its appearance as
a discrete thing conceals the generosity and work that has been invested in it
by many others, just to make it appear in the world.
As residents, friends, and experts of the city I love, I would like to thank
Vasant Ambore, Shaina Anand, Amisha Birje, Durga Gudilu, Devika Maha-
devan, Shahnawaz Pathan, Urmila Salunkhe, Shali Shaikh, Sitaram Shelar,
Ashok Sukumaran, and Satish Tripathi. I am both touched and honored that
they shared their cities and their lives with me, and value their continued
friendship. I am also grateful to so many residents of Jogeshwari, who gave
me time they did not have to talk to me about water. Thanks to Mr. Borse,
Mr. Gondalia, Mr. Joshi, Mr. Shah, and Mr. Virkar of Mumbai’s Hydraulic
Engineers Department, for their many years of thankless ser vice to the hy-
draulic city. With a generosity I came to associate with the city’s public ser-
vants, they patiently shared their experience, practices, and even their lunch
with me.
This proj ect began over ten years ago at Stanford University. I am most
grateful to James Ferguson, who, through his teaching, advising, and men-
toring, has inspired me to be puzzled about the world. I aspire to carry his
lucid insights, rigor, and generosity with me in the years ahead. Akhil Gupta
has been a most wonderful guide, and has consistently urged me to step back
and think of the larger questions that animate our work as researchers, and
as persons. I am also indebted to Sylvia Yanagisako, for her careful reading,
sharp analy sis, and indefatigable energy, good humor, and spirit. My dearest
friends and fellow travelers through gradu ate school, Hannah Appel, Elif
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