Tuesday, 30 August 2011


I do these things periodically. Its not a religious whatever. Or maybe its my kind of religion. Who knows?

For the past month, I have been bathing in cold water. No big deal, of course. This is Chennai. Hot as hell. Doing yourself a favour by bathing in cold instead of hot. Everyone does it (I have always used luke warm, all my life). But it was a sudden decision, one that I feel the need to stick to. I remember the exact moment I made it, I was not sure I would be able to go forward with it, but swore I would work hard, try...

Previously, I have tried such experiments. For the most part, I am successful. Several years ago, I gave up shower baths in favour of bucket baths. Except when I don't have a choice - like when I am in a hotel somewhere and don't want to bother to ask for a bucket/mug - I have stuck to this. I periodically go on a 'Junk Food Free Weekdays' deal. Meaning, all the murukkus and other things cannot be eaten on weekdays. This works okay for a bit but I slide often on it. Eating samosas and stuff at work, for example. I gave up earbuds briefly (used a LOT of them in my life, believe me). I avoid driving to get to any form of exercise (this works excepting in a few situs, and has worked exceptionally well after I bought my bicycle). I gave up sugar in my coffee/tea, also, ghee, a long time ago now.

So when I look at my everyday life, there are a lot of these things I try periodically. Some of them last long. Like the sugar thing. Sometimes I get to a place where I have to stop the experiment, give up on it. Earbuds is one such, and really not even for a crazy good reason, just because I wanted to... Nevertheless, I feel the need to keep trying out such things. I don't stress much if I have to give them up though, which tells me that it really is an experiment in my head and also that if it was demanded of me from external sources, I would really fight tooth and nail against it. Besides, I think when I can stick to it also, its because I don't make a big deal of it, but I simply don't give myself the option of failing. Not in an aggressive or obnoxious type goading of self, but just a gentle push, to myself.

My mum gave up wearing silks and jewelry several years ago. I am possibly the only one that supports her in this venture of hers. She is harassed often by several people about it. Grandmum starts in with theories about connections with nerves and how important it all this. Hogwash, I say. She doesn't feel like, its her life. "But she used to love to dress up" they wail. Well, yes, she still does dress neatly. In her cotton saris. I think she herself has doubts sometimes. Like when we attend a wedding (she doesn't want to attend anything either, but sometimes there isn't a choice in the matter) and she feels conscious that she is wearing a non-silk-zari sari while everyone is decked up. I, of course, scream at her 'diffidence' as I call it, but also genuinely feel that its irrelevant what everyone else is wearing and what they think. You do what you feel like. And hold your head high with the confidence that your experiment was successful.

Why deny oneself things, we have only one life

The truth is, its not a big deal denial. I mean, I know people try humongous things with their lives, upheavals they are. I would like to do that too sometime. It just sounds like a fun thing. But I really haven't chanced upon something that comes from within me (which it has to, in order for it to be successful). So I do what I can with small things. Things others may not notice, and things that really, affect no one except myself. Some of them are painful, most are really useless in terms of my health, or the environment's, but I guard them jealously, because they are my experiments, and I love them. And everyday they make me wake up and feel good, about myself, and living another day...


Airspy said...

With you on this. We have this no-car weekends, where we try to do as much buses and walk as possible and less auto.

Successful attempts at no bottled- water outings are fulfilling. But sometimes with the kids the demand supply balance doesnt quite work out.

but yeah. it feels good. and its certainly not denial.

kbpm said...

exactly! what effort does it take to fill a bottle of water or carry a bag while going shopping? actually, after the first few days it just becomes a habit and is so easy that its not a big deal or denial or anything at all!
(that said, weekends are horrid in terms of car usage in our household!)

Anonymous said...

i started a fortnightly fast (not like anna hazare - only water; only orange juice) also because it was an experiment in restraint on food.
agree about this:" And everyday they make me wake up and feel good, about myself, and living another day..."

Choxbox said...

And that (a tad ironically) Kenny is the true gist of religion.

dipali said...

Ditto Chox! Kenny, tussi great ho:)