Friday, July 24, 2009

Shower Anyone?

Yesterday morning as I went from my bed to the shower, I had a most unusual and awkward experience…

Thursday evening I moved into my new flat on the top floor of the building where I have been living the past three weeks. I live in what is called a Parsati. It is basically a studio apartment split by a terrace. When you walk in the main door, the living space is on the left. The living space is just one room that has no kitchen or bathroom. On the left side of the tiny terrace is the miniscule kitchen and contortionist size bathroom. There is also a small staircase that leads to the roof terrace that offer great views of the parks and the monuments.

I learned just minutes after moving all my things in, that the roof terrace is used quite often by the family that owns the building. Quite often as in all the time… And it was just before seven yesterday morning that there was a knock on my window. I had shut the main door when I went to bed and now that the sun was up, the masses wanted in. I open the door and there is the mother with her sister-in-law. I figured they would stay a few minutes and then the number of voices increased and at one point, someone poked there head into the window of my room and looked around. Fortunately for me, I was not doing anything embarrassing, but I did give her a bit of a stern look. What is social etiquette when a relative of the non-English speaking landlord pops their head in the window?

I waited for the voices to die down and decided to hop across the terrace for a shower. There I was, in my shorts, carrying my towel and still trying to wake up when I noticed the audience. They were all there, on the roof terrace. The landlady, her husband, her brother, her brother’s wife, her niece, her newly engaged daughter and one of her sons. They smiled. They waved. They said “Namaste” and “hello” and I turned red and didn’t know what to do. I am used to being surprised by an uninvited spider holding the shower hostage, but this was something completely new and I was way out of comfort zone. I did the only thing I could do. I put my hands together, said “Namaste” and “hello” and went in the bathroom, ready for a nice shower to rinse the whole experience away.

I turned on the shower and out came a trickle of water. It seem that being just a meter or so below the water tanks mean I have absolutely no water pressure. I guess I will go green and start taking bucket showers. But yesterday morning I had no choice but to press my body up against the wall while the few drops of water lazily did their job. I splashed some here and tried splashing some there. It was creative showering at it’s best, but not the experience that makes me sing. See, I like to sing in the shower and I more often than not, pretend that that I am in a recording booth and the shower head is my mic which just happens to be spouting water. I sing, I purr, I rap. I have raised the roof off of many a bathroom. But this roof, I am afraid, will stay firmly in place.

The evening before was a different matter. Just after my things were shifted, there had been a massive downpour, and I had put on my swimsuit and I sat on the roof terrace just enjoying the cool water. If I had thought about it, I would have taken my big black umbrella and performed “Singin’ in the Rain” right there on the rooftop. I saw people on all the other rooftops doing their version of the same thing. I also saw people bring out the soap and take shower in the downpour. Now I know why. They, like me, are probably roof-dwellers and have no other shower option.

But for the moment, I was stuck in the shower, trying to make the best with what I had, fully aware that there was an audience waiting for me to come out so they could inspect my work. I dried off the one or two drops of water, wrapped myself in a towel and opened the door with my head held high. I didn’t even look at them, I just went into my room and shut the door, all the time telling myself I can’t live like this. It seems I am not a tenant, I am family. I have been told as much, in those exact words. I have been told to call the landlady “Momma”, something I have managed to resist. I am the older son and by moving in, it seems I have signed away all rights to the privacy I might have once had. I made the mistake of having food at their place the night I moved upstairs and that seems to have sealed my fate. Now I feel like a prisoner and have no idea what to do. I am just hoping it is a phase and my privacy will somehow, if only slowly, be restored.

But something tells me otherwise…


  1. Anonymous25/7/09 00:53

    Hello Robito, Maybe you should go back dowstairs, it was,t to bad, What it's the deal to have a terrace if you can't use!!!

  2. OMG! just when I forget to tell you the rules :P