One of the many pleasures of living in cold spaces is having access to long hot water showers. In India, I am assuming, showers have not yet arrived in urban middle-class washrooms the way water jets did well over a decade ago. The water jet did so well that it garnered popularity with some of my NRI relatives as well – they carried the paraphernalia to distant America.
Even today, many people including my mother, prefer to use a bucket and a mug to bathe. As people ascend the ladder of modernism and become aware about western practices, the number of showers in urban Indian households should increase – their types ever mounting. Maybe, shower heads are no longer considered a luxury, and have become something that is basic to a washroom. In other words, spotting a shower head inside a washroom is as obvious as the presence of the humble wash basin.
I reckon till I was well over 16, we did not have a shower at home. Therefore, bathing meant arranging the apparatus – a bucket, a mug and a stool on which one could plonk themselves. “Plonk” I know of this word because of my mother’s heavy usage of it – mostly while referring to any one from the family spending the particular hour of the day in a slothful manner.
Now, regardless of this digression being worth it or not, I need to carry on writing this, for the sake of completeness.
Bathing, for me has always been a chore, an activity that has to be carried out. Note that the emphasis is on the word, “has”. Iwouldn’t shy away from telling you that there have been times, most frequently in the winter months where I have abandoned it – the longest being for a week.
Even so, one can’t dismiss the relief that a hot water shower brings with it. A hot shower might strip you away of your natural body oils and make your hair more frizzy – but the relief, the sheer relaxation is hardly a feeling that needs to be debated. Hot water showers are indubitably the stuff of dreams – my friend’s confession long hot showers making her day corroborates this.
But where does the race against time bit, as suggested in the title, come from? You see, the geyser in my house, has a rather abysmal capacity – five minutes of comforting warmth slowly gives way to lukewarm and ultimately, cold water. As I write this, it is 19 degree celsius outside, and even with this moderately pleasant temperature, I can’t help but shudder at the thought of a cold bath.
After I learnt about the geyser’s frugal capacity for the first time, I had to make sure that the harrowing realisation doesn’t come again – especially when one is lathered in soap and the hair are cloaked with a thick layer of shampoo froth. There is nothing you can do to escape, the soap and shampoo must be washed off with cold water, unless you have the patience to wait for the geyser to warm another batch.
Following the former, while slathering cream on your face, the motions of your hands may come across patches of wet sludge, remnants of the face wash you didn’t wash off in your hurried clumsiness.
Even so, a new geyser was and is, out of the question. Therefore, a methodical bathing session was constructed. To succeed, the plan was this: the lids of the shampoo bottle, the face wash be opened, arranged in the order they need to be used, at an arm’s length from where you bathe. The soap should be ready in the soap dish, slightly moist so that valuable hot water is not wasted in making it usable. The shower lever is arranged such that when opened, the optimal amount and temperature of water rush out.
The hair is washed first, followed by the rest of it. All of this is done in one quick mechanical motion. If you are efficient, you can squeeze in over 30 seconds of idling away time, suitable for any shower thoughts – such as the idea to write about one’s showering experience.