04 Mind and Body Contemplations

The purr-fect temperature for a bath

Moments of bliss

Photo courtesy Siora Photography on Unsplash

(I am writing this story on my iPad Air 4 using my Apple Pencil 2 with handwriting-to-text. If I leave this sentence in, it has worked for me for writing comfortably from my Lazy-boy by my bedroom window. It beats always having to go to the study and my laptop and keyboard.)

When we say we are going for a bath in India, we mean we will be showering or using a bucket and mug to pour water over ourselves. It does not mean we’ll be filling a bathtub and soaking in it. Just as well, for with over a billion people, we would soon run out of water.

I want to share a feeling I get once in a while when I shower. A few things have to come together, like the day of the week, the time, the weather and how long the geyser has been on. When they do, and I set the mixer so that water at precisely the right temperature flows over my whole body as an unbroken skin, it becomes a luxuriant escape. My mind lets go of all my thoughts and enjoys the delicious warming sensation. My body feels light and suspended in space. The world disappears. Knowing no one and nothing will interrupt me in the privacy of the shower comforts me. The tender water runs unbroken down the nape of my neck, my shoulders and upper arms, down the front of my thighs and over my calves, its magic working on the large convex parts of me.

Then I am alone in the world. A faint smile, as much inward as evident, plays on my face. All my worries disappear, and time slows down. Life’s concerns vaporise like the wisps rising from the just hot water. I feel happy and content, glad to be alive at the moment. I am only a sensing body, with no responsibility or purpose, independent, equal to anyone.

As the water runs, I know the temperature will drop away. It is somewhere between warm and hot that the magic happens. That’s when it elicits an involuntary deep breath and a silent exhalation of pleasure from me. It is purr-fect. I keep it there for a bit longer by pushing the mixer lever to the left a few degrees, then repeat. I know this can’t go on for long, for it would be an extravagance with time and water. Neither do I want it to, for its indulgent luxury is in rarity.

I have often thought I would measure the temperature at which I get this bliss. But some things are better left undefined.

It doesn’t matter that I live in a warm country. Where I live, Pune, erstwhile Poona, we get enough cool days during the monsoon and winter that I can experience this simple and sublime pleasure a few times a year.

I bet you’ve had this experience too, wherever you are from. It may happen for you with cool water on a warm day, although for me, it happens only with almost hot water. Either way, it must be something evolutionary and life-affirming to be so universally lovely.

I wish you a cool or cold morning tomorrow and a purr-fect warm bath. Sigh.


Shashi on LinkedIn

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