My first memories of bathing consist of a naked four year old with a really tiny penis, punching water in the blue bucket that stood as high as his chest. Of course, that four year old was me. I remember my mother laughing brightly with a Kodak camera in her hand, egging me to splash the water harder. As I’d giggle and slap the water, she’d shout ‘cheese’ and a flash would temporarily blind my eyes. Nine years later, when my friends pointed at the penis and howled with laughter, I realized naked baby albums are kind of humiliating. And to add salt to my misery, my mother keeps displaying those proudly to the relatives, neighbors, and probably even the newspaper guy and the milkman. It’s like a custom. Enter the house, have water, and watch naked photos of my kid.
Anyway, when I grew up, I got a bathroom. I had to fight with my brother for winning the place, as he wanted to get in first. And being the elder one, I believed it was my privilege to bathe first. Another surprising fact here is that my brother doesn’t have a naked baby album. My mother makes a poker face at this question and says he always used to be dressed up. I don’t believe her.
Time flew, and soon, the reason for fights changed. Now we fought for the last entry, basically because we had been bathing everyday for more than 10 years now and it was kind of getting boring and tough.
I remember we didn’t have immersion rods or geysers, but a couple of LPG cylinders, so we heated water on the stove. Then, my mother got an immersion rod, and winter baths became bearable. We still loathed bathing, though.
“If you want the food, you have to clean yourself. “My mother would say, and I had to drag myself to that dreary place, sprinkle some water all over me and wipe myself with a drenched towel and come out shivering.
“Get back in and take a real bath like a real man! “She’d yell and my brother would already start making escape plans.
Once I showed her on Google that daily bath wasn’t recommended. She stopped paying for my data packs after that. I had to take two baths a day as an apology.
As my penis grew, bathroom became an important place in my life. It wasn’t the gloomy cave anymore. I’d often go in with a magazine or a photograph or with the vivid memories of my superhot biology teacher.
“Are you sleeping or what? “My brother would yell and knock at the door furiously. “It has been thirty minutes! ”
“Five minutes more! “I’d yell back, and accelerate.
Recently, we got a geyser and an elegant bathroom, and now bathing at home feels like an experience. There’s this pale yellow bulb glowing over, and steam pouring out the faucet, the whole room foggy and warm. And now even my brother has started taking longer in the bathroom.
But I rarely live at home these days. So bathing is optional. If you’ve lived in a lodge, you’d understand. In Ranchi, the geyser hung in the balcony, in front of my room. Even then, nobody bathed daily. Some blokes did it twice a month. Even a pure priest guy on the first floor broke his streak of 17 years of bathing everyday. Girls too didn’t do it daily. We could make that out from their colorful underwears with polka dots and floral designs draped over the clothesline for days.
In Delhi, nature fucks you like a Satan. There’s unbearable heat in summer, smog after Diwali, and Siberian cold in winter. And there’s no geyser. The bathroom isn’t attractive either. So, I guess I’ll have to manage with dettol drenched towels.