Spice of life | Cold war: Breaking the ice with winter showers

Published on Jan 02, 2023 04:49 AM IST

My father would insist that we bathe daily, and if I were inclined to let his advice slide off like water from a duck’s back, he would push me into the wa(te)r zone himself.

Upon breaking the ice with the water coldly staring at me, the first mug sends tingles down my spine and I start mumbling the anthem ‘all is well’ under my breath. (Representational Image/HT File)
Upon breaking the ice with the water coldly staring at me, the first mug sends tingles down my spine and I start mumbling the anthem ‘all is well’ under my breath. (Representational Image/HT File)
ByUpender Nath Sharma

As I sat snuggled in a warm quilt, dunking my favourite cookie into scalding tea on a cold winter morning, it felt like paradise. A niggling thought, however, threatened to turn my perfect morning into a purgatory as I realised I had to leave my cosy bed to take a shower.

One shudders to step into the cold bathroom. To me, the pail of water, mug and soap are like a roguish group of seniors hell bent on browbeating me into stripping down. The roar of water cascading from the faucet into a bucket, to my ears, sounds like an intimidating clarion call, and the raising water level seems to have an inverse effect on my determination to take the plunge.

Upon breaking the ice with the water coldly staring at me, the first mug sends tingles down my spine and I start mumbling the anthem ‘all is well’ under my breath. Wafts of cold breeze sneak into the bathroom from the gaps behind the exhaust fan, adding to the misery of my drenched self.

Once my anaesthetised hands have rubbed the hard and cold soap bar from head to toe in an impulsively fast and loose manner, all hell breaks loose, as I have throw a few more mugs of appallingly cold water to wash off the crusting soap coating my skin. Later, my shuddering body assuming the pose of a poker-faced figurine, as I allow the excess water to drip off. My bottle-green towel humbly waits for the green signal to pull me into a soggy quagmire like a reliable friend.

Swearing by the song, ‘Thande thande pani se nahaana chahiye’, my dad would always rhapsodise the benefits of bathing with cold water, and never succumbed to the family pressure of installing a geyser at home. Thus, our dream of soaking in a spacious jacuzzi has but been a pipe dream.

My father would insist that we bathe daily, and if I were inclined to let his advice slide off like water from a duck’s back, he would push me into the wa(te)r zone himself. In my hostel days, away from my hawk-eyed father, my roommate and I took the liberty of surviving nippy overcast mornings by stealthily bathing in exotic perfumes, fragrant powders, and fancy hair gels. We would shrewdly wear neatly ironed outfits everyday so that birds of a feather could flock together, scot-free.

Our like-minded group had vowed to venture into bounds of bathroom only when sun rose in full lustre; an insane rider that often saw us skip and postpone the cumbersome cleansing exercise for another day without keeping a serious count of our cheating tally.

With the weather turning chilly, all sentient beings will sympathise with me, whether cattle dreading the detested hosepipe or wailing newborns being subjected to splashing water.

As the piece comes to an end, a thick blanket of fog has enveloped the area, quietly implying that days of trouble-free bathing, are nowhere in sight.

unsharma3116@gmail.com

(The writer is an Una-based freelance contributor)

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