It’s not easy to take a shower in five distinct, divergent jets of water, each half a drop in width, and separated by up to a foot in space before they reach the ground. The head gets one stream of water, by sticking an arm and a leg out in opposite directions like a ballerina, two limbs can be made mildly damp. And if you stand bent at the waist, with your butt sticking out to the maximum extent, one stream might be persuaded to land on your back (provided you have a broad back to start with; slim people will stay dry). The fifth jet heads off into outer space with great determination, only to find its way effectively barred by the bathroom ceiling.
Even if you positioned yourself strategically under several streams of water, it would take you up to half an hour to get sufficiently wet to be able to use soap. Then you only have to face the challenge of getting it off again.
And if you want to shampoo your hair, god (or some such higher power) will have to come to your rescue.
The problem is due to the extremely dirty borewell water that we get in our taps. No matter what type of showerhead we put, it gets blocked in weeks. Consequently, we get very few streams of water, which, due to the pressure of all the dirty water that’s trying to get out but can’t, comes spurting out with phenomenal force. If any five separate, half-drop-wide jets of water could blast you out of existence, these would be those five jets.
After many days of difficult showering, Amit took the initiative of removing the showerhead “for cleaning”. He threw it into a mug full of warm, soapy water, and left for work. Which left me ever more showerless than ever. Out of curiosity, I turned on the shower anyway, and a one-inch broad jet of water came shooting out with great force. Fantastic. That would do. It was a bit like bathing under a tap suspended very high on the wall, but, considering that Amit had recently suggested tying a bucket up on the shower rod and attaching a rope so that you could tug on it and get a bucket-full of water upended on you…
Not that the showerhead problem is the only problem caused by the dirty water. What is becoming of the insides of the hot water geysers and the washing machine, I shudder to think. But what it’s doing to our toilet flush tanks has become only too evident. The toilet in our bathroom has been showing great reluctance to fill in recent weeks, and now it has completely stopped. We can actually hear the water dripping into the tank one drop at a time. But even if we let it drip till eternity, the tank still wouldn’t fill sufficiently to actually be able to flush anything. The ball-and-cock arrangement (with a passing snigger to acknowledge the usual meaning of those words) is so gummed up with dirt that it closes long before the tank is full.
The result of all this is that the humble bucket, which had almost been rendered extinct in our lives, has now come in to its own. Several times a day, we bend before it, first to bathe, and now to throw water down the toilet. From being a nobody, it has gone straight to being the lord of the bathroom. Such is the power of dirt.