Out of all the relationships that I could have with inanimate objects in my life, this is probably the most critical and temperamental. Having a relationship with a phone is easy. It wakes up at my command, sleeps when I'm not looking, and has a well-oiled charging routine that I've learnt to live with for most of the week! But my water heater is nasty.
It is a tiny little thing that sits perched on the wall of my spare bathroom that I use for my morning routine. Why do I not use the non-spare bathroom, you ask? Easy. That one is attached to my bedroom, and my wife sleeps lighter than my dog, except she can do more than bite. 🤣
Now, because this is just a spare, it is a tiny three-litre capacity heater that cannot retain copious amounts of hot water that I may need to wash my six-foot-tall body. That's hardly a bit more than a pitcher, and we all know how many of those I can guzzle! 😅 So it goes without saying that my entire morning shower lies balanced atop a carefully curated process, which I will now explain.
First, let me get one question out of the way right away. Why do we need heaters in Bangalore? Technically, it's not as cold as the Himalayas or even Delhi, and I do love to shock my body with some cold water during the morning shower. But, there are times when your body craves some warmth. These are the times when you do not want to be shocked into awareness but rather lulled into a sense of calm. For those days, a heater comes in handy.
So on any such day, my routine is set. I switch on the heater, and in the few minutes that it takes to fire up the meagre amount of water, I enjoy my morning read on the porcelain throne. Oh, don't tell me you've never done it! I think the most profound advantage of moving from full-blown PCs to handheld devices is definitely the freedom of consuming content while we are, ironically, excreting some another way!
With that, the water comes to a boil with a click so subtle that I'd miss it even if I yawn too loudly! Now, when I say boiling, I mean BOILING HOT. The irony of this whole process is this - I need to let the first half a litre of the water drain away to ensure that the boiling water reaches a semi-bearable state. How do I do this? The shower dance, of course!
Put your left foot in, pull your left foot out, Put your right foot in, And turn the heel around! Do the jiggly-wiggly, until you make no sound, And that's what it's all about! Ta-da-da-da!
I know. It's a crappy poem because it's a crappy process. And while the poem over-simplifies the subtle nature of this exchange between my heater and me, the reality is far from it. We are not dealing with high-tech equipment here, and thus, several variables make this mating ritual a daunting task every morning.
The ambient temperature outside, the time for which the heater overruns beyond the auto-cutoff, the flow rate of the water from the showerhead, my body temperature, and my heat preference for the day are all key contributors to the final outcome from this experience. Did someone say that the heater is a scientific instrument? Well, living with one is an art!
And this everyday drama does not end with the shower. There is unexplainable aftermath that usually follows right after I step out of the bathroom. On most days, I remember to switch off the heater, and no one is the wiser. But on the very day that I forget to do that, my wife waltzes in and notices the blunder. And that's our cue for the periodic domestic responsible behaviour symposium, where I am rarely the speaker. 😂
It is almost as if on the days that I am so comfortable with my bath that I forget to switch off the heater, it WANTS to get me caught! What a bitch. Yeah, that's how I realized that the heater is a woman and has a mind of her own. One which sends me mixed signals every morning, and on the one day that I forget to pay my respects on exit, she rats me out like a scorned lover. 😒
But just like any other meaningful relationship, this one is necessary. I need the heater as much as it needs me. We've somehow entered this satisfying co-dependence that has become an integral part of my everyday morning routine. So much so that I really feel weird if I have to bathe myself in the other washroom! It almost feels like I'm cheating on my heater! Now, if that's not a relationship, I don't know what is!
So, yeah, it does sound weird, but if we can joke about being married to our phones, tablets, and laptops, there can surely be some humour around flings with heaters, right?
Next up - let's talk about my on-and-off affair with the induction cooktop.