If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Jun 12, 2010

Inuits have fourteen words for white !

Bathrooms were always white. With white commodes and white basins. Johnson white. Showers could only be had cold. The geyser ? No, it was’nt connected to the shower. So if you wanted a hotwater bath it was with a bucket. Into which you first let the hot water dribble. The slower the dribble the hotter the water. You had to first open the tap. Then switch the geyser on. With dry hands. Other wise you stood a chance of increasing the electricity bill, to say nothing of the funeral expenses. The red bulb that shared the small piece of marble with the switch and the little steel container lit up. You then tried to find the sweet point. That flow of water which gave you a bucket full of water hot enough. But not so hot that you needed to add some cold water to the bucket for your bath. To slow a flow of water and all that came out of the little boiler that could was steam. Which was fun because you could then write on the mirror.
The magic was in getting all the planets to align. The flow of water hot enough, the rate of removal of water from the filling bucket, the soaping and the rinsing, and the final lift of bucket off the floor to pour that last inch of water that the mug could’nt retrieve. Only to find that there was still some soap behind your left ear. Ok cold water from the basin would do for that.
There was soap on a rope. Fishy in shape . Scales and everything that would hand from a rope that would hang from a wall that would be furtherest away from the geyser. The basin had it’s magnetic soap. Which was a bar with a magnet attached to the underside. And when you opened a new bar of soap you were allowed to open a bottle of coco cola for the billa. The billa was the cap which was metal , which you then pressed into the soap which allowed the magnet to hold onto it. You don’t get magnet soap holders anymore because you billas today are aluminum and coke bottles are mostly plastic.
In the middle of the floor was another slab of marble. Spoiling the symmetry of the Johnson tiles and their always requiring cleaning joints. Which was what old toothbrushes were used for. The marble was for the clothes. The clothes the bai washed and then beat the living daylights out of until they gave her all the dirt.
The overused window ledge held everything. From Readers digest’s [ there is no better toilet reading ! ] to tooth brushes, tooth paste, dentures, glasses, wedding rings [ until discovered gratefully in the panic of loss] scapulars, [ until discovered and forced back around our necks ] TP, washing powder, the clothes brush, and Tolstoys War and Peace. Gotcha !
One bathroom and five people meant that the condensed book section at the end of the Readers Digest would have to wait. Which you would remember about late at night. Only to find the last few pages missing. It must have been the butler who did it ?
Which explained itself the next morning when you saw toilet paper on the shopping list.

8 comments:

Corinne Rodrigues said...

At last Clement! All your fans have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

Pooja said...

Great to have you back!

Lalima Prabhu said...

I had forgotten about the red bulb...the fish on a string too. Oh and the billa on the soap had me in splits. And the window ledge....ours had a money plant in a beheaded green bottle. Thanks for bringing back memories of my childhood in Bandra. Lalima (lalima@rocketmail.com)

rehanmerchant said...

BAAT bahut achi hai.
Aur kehne ke liye koi ROOM nahin bachaa.
Today its raining cats and dogs so have a great shower outdoors

Anonymous said...

Bloody good! Were you secretly living in my house? hahaha

Mama - Mia said...

brilliant brilliant stuff! :)

cheers!

ps: tho our bathroom was nothing like this i have seen enough of em to know em! esp the fishy soap and billa soap! :)

cheers!

Floyd said...

We did not have Geyser ( just some of our neighbors who were old ones). Dad believed geysers exploded.
We heated our water in a handi over the gas stove(Ermine had the responsibility of watching the pot), carried it to the bathroom and we adjusted the temperature with cold water. No red light for us.
The best part of the bath was pouring the last mug of warmwater over my head.
The bad days were when the burshane tank was empty.

BB said...

Hey Corrine theres a dirty clothes box for sale in Dadar. Mrs. Mendoza is the seller.
Thx Pooja.
Lalima, yes the money plant either in a green bottle or a hollowed out bulb hanging from the grille.
Thx Rehan.
Anonymous. Yes that was me . and you thought it was the dhobi :)
Mama Mia. When am I getting Kerala egg curry ?
Floyd.Peter was an artist so he was entitled to his kinks. and geysers had been know to explode. Look at Ole faithful in Yellowstone.
And now Bandra had piped gas. No more chasing the gas wallah and trying to get him to give you a cylinder out of turn.