Friday, July 18, 2008

Bathroom Reading

It all started when I acquired the never-touch-a-book-but-for-exams attitude during the senior school days, when everything else except for studies mattered much. Who would anyway want to be bothered by text books, when more important and interesting enterprises like inter-house competitions, seniority politics, outings, escapade to the latest movie, newly published novels etc are always in the pipe-line. Text books were considered as one of those pernicious things that deserved to be punished by leaving them to rot and collect enough dust till the desk becomes a sanctuary for book mites. A week before the examination is when these books will find a way-out, the most hated ones illegibly perforated by the mites owing to the neglected stay in the abyssal corners of the desk, while the favored ones as fresh as when it was printed owing to the ample breathing space they enjoyed in the upper deck of the desk.

With just one week available to read through the favored and hated subjects with equal diligence, every second was valued, including the few minutes at the lavatory. These are the days when the books will be glued to us, be it lavatory or mess or assembly hall or roll-call or in the squad. Every possible routine like games, P.T, NCC and any activity that comes in the way of studies will be bunked to ensure we make the best use of this critical week. Sometimes, I used to wonder, why we should suffer during these exam days when we don’t really care about the exams. After one such attempt, I realized that we can play all the pranks only if we clear the exams by some means. The golden rule is "The more you exert in this period, the more space you have for yourself after the exams, of course, till the next I exam." This cycle never changes. At instances, when a book turns out to be greek and latin, we would decide on an impromptu attempt, funny enough to have Saki find his way into the history paper or renaissance replacing mutation in the biology paper. I’m digressing too much.'s find our way back to the subject

Like I mentioned before, the text books always accompanied us to the lavatory during these days. After the exams, this practice continued and the text books were replaced by Reader’s Digest, the only subscription we were allowed. The point is, like every habit formation should have a logical start, the bathroom reading or more precisely, lavatorial reading as a habit started during the exam prep marathon. This behaviour was never considered as anti-social in the dorms and irrespective of the seniority level every one were for it. A practice that has passed on from generations to generations as a legacy.

In spite of the wide acceptance, once when I came out of the bathroom carrying a book, I was caught red-handed by the duty master known for his moral preaching.

He bawled “ Were you sh***ing or reading?
I said “ Sir, I was doing both?” and I kept mum.
He was staring for a moment, of course with his mouth wide open and said, “ In the future, you will only be fit for book keeping in a public toilet” and dismissed me.

This didn’t bother me much, as this morality has already blessed most of us to become many things like nomad, cow boy, wine maker, snake charmer, eater of the dead, street vendor and what not.

The practice continued even after I left the school and even at home. When it came to renovating the house, I instructed the carpenter to fix a book rack in one of the bathrooms and he was confused. Yes. It is highly important to ensure good lighting, closet with a comfortable seating, floor-to-wall white tiling to ensure hygiene, airflow and ventilation even when you are not one.

Reader’s Digest being a magazine with topics of varied flavors and contents of varied types like essays, short stories, jokes, cartoons, interviews with politics and gossips excluded has always been my choice for the bathroom reading. There are some criteria for a good bathroom book. Ideally the books has to be small and self-contained like, Collection of Short-stories, Poems, Anecdotes, Parables, Jokes and some magazine would make an ideal bathroom book. It should be like something you can read till the end in one-sitting, so that, you don’t need to carry the book outside. Big Volums, Serious ones, Political stuff and Gossips should be avoided.

It was tough when I visited a friend’s place where there were no books to carry. When I complained him about constipation due to the lack of a book, he gave a big smile and drew a Reader’s Digest buried under his mattress. I understood that it is forbidden practice in his house. However, this incident made me to think that, I am addicted to this silly indulgence. I decided to consult some friends before exploring the possibility of any psychological or physiological diagnosis. After a considerable survey, I was amazed to find that most carry a book; one guy carries his laptop; few carry their cell phones, some are hooked to their iPod or MP3 players and so on. It was proven beyond the fact that it is very common to be bathroom reader. Apart from saving a few significant minutes everyday, it sets the day in a good rhythm. Some habits accompany us till the grave and this is one such habit/

Happy Reading!

Warning: There is nothing wrong in being a bathroom reader, but never get indulged in the book and stay longer than needed in the bacthroom. You might end up carrying Hemorrhoids (Piles) all your life.

Images courtesy: Google


Anonymous said...

I hate reading.
But I love dreaming.

Jeevan said...

Hai it’s even interesting your books and lavatory! “one guy carries his laptop; “ it’s a step further in generation. I make the time lesser inside bathroom and I know this is the only space for privacy at home, still I wonder how u people make it a place of favor reading. Even my dad belong to your category and I do feel it’s not a wrong thing though ;)

The golden rule u said is one support the pain then of reading books or notes and more interest on to set free ourselves. It seems no one left getting blessed from masters.

vishesh said...


Kavi said...

You brought that out of the closet ! Its been an indulgence.

Psst...i carry the cell phone !

அவனும் அவளும் said...

இந்தியன் ஸ்டைல் closet இருந்தா என்ன பண்ணுவீங்கன்னு ஒரே யோசனையா இருக்கு !!

அப்பதான் multi tasking பண்ணமாட்டீங்க.

Anand said...

I started going with Newspaper these days.
At times the cell phone too.

When I'm taking official call from home & my bladder can't hold any longer, I go in with my cell phone. I have to do lots of circus to avoid the flush noise being heard on the other side. Any suggestions?? ;)

Machaan, yaaruda antha Duty Master?

Shiva said...

Hobo - Welcome. Some way to occupy the mind... Reading or dreaming

Jeevan - It's an indulgence which soon will become an addiction. Glad that you dont do it

Vishesh :)

Kavi - :)

Kalaan - In the school, we only have Indian closets:) Dont ask me how we accomplished it

Anand - I left enough clues for the Duty Master - Another clue - M for morality...

Bharath S said...

Hey Shiva, Nice bit of truth. I especiaaly like to a long soothing bath especially after coming back from office. I always get a feeling that it helps to keep me relaxed after a day's work.

Thanks Dude !

I have seen Mark's photo couple of times in your blog. I see a lot of positive energy and a very relaxed smile emanating from his face. Can understand when you say that he is a wonderful source of inspiration and motivation.

Vinz aka Vinu aka Vinayak said...

Nice write up..!!
Its great to see you bringing out the silliest part in your day routine, with such a nice narration..

The idea of a book stand is grand, in fact..!!

Roopesh said...

Gr8 Write-up. The thrill of bathroom is something to ponder.Currently I have stopped that habit and am trying to dictate terms with ppl who do it.Should I? :)