My friends-cum-flat mates often chide me for wasting 45 hours of their life every month inside the bathroom. One and a half hour less a day. For workaholics, that is a lot of time wasted for no fault of theirs. But for me, those 90 minutes each day are a crucial period to experience the naked emotions.
Bathroom, which generally includes the toilet, has always been my refuge. The size, pattern and character of the bathroom may have changed over the years but it has not lost an iota of its importance in my life.
The four walls of a bathroom are not suffocating but give me a sense of freedom. I come face to face with myself and feel a surge of emotions as the smoke from the cigarette fills up the bathroom. I stare at my wrinkling skin and the ugly marks on the body. They are a cause of shame for me in the outside world but inside the bathroom, away from prying eyes, they become reality. There is no shame anymore.
I can be anyone inside the bathroom — a singer, an actor, a celebrity, an achiever, a nobody. I listen to my voice and give a damn about anyone outside not listening to it. I can cry and I can laugh. I can easily start a conversation with the invisible and continue without interruption.
As the water flows from the tap camouflaging the outburst of my demented self, I feel a rush of memories — old and new, good and bad, happy and sad — and wallow in them. I remember how I had made love to her under the shower and wished these moments never end. I am filled with abhorrence when I see the escapist in me. I see the skin coming off my body, exposing the festering wounds.
I confess in this temple of peace.
Talking about temple, in many civilisations, bathrooms were considered a special space within the premises of the house. Surprisingly, many cultures had bathroom deities. For instance, in Japan, the toilet god is known as Kawaya Kami, and in ancient Rome, Crepitus was the toilet god and Cloacina was the goddess of the sewers.
I am not sure whether any such god or goddess exists in the Indian culture but if it does, then the Bathroom Almighty has always been my saviour and has apparently pardoned me for actions inappropriate in front of the family. My secrets are locked inside the divine chest.
Bathroom is my prayer room. It is the sanctum sanctorum that keeps me away from the dystopian world. I can augment reality and enjoy the luxury of living in a utopian world, albeit for a short period of time. The 90 minutes each day enriches me and rejuvenates my soul. I feel intoxicated as I step out of my reality and become a part of the confusion once again.
~ From the diary of a confused soul