Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Puppy Shame!

It was Friday night and Mahati invited her friend home for dinner. She finished garnishing the pulihora and bisibelebath and they both were setting up the dinner table when her flatmate stormed into the room. She was coming back from her office and was visibly upset, angry and both. A concerned Mahati said, 'What's up? Anything wrong? I invited my friend for dinner and made a Andhra special.' Her flatmate did not quite notice Mahati's friend. She asked, 'How can people be so mean?' Mahati quickly put all the dinner in a hot pack.

'The guy that my parents wanted me to marry rejected me saying I am too thin for him.' said her flatmate. 'How can people judge someone based on their looks and physique? Is that not mean and hurtful?' Mahati replied, 'Absolutely. But what you should actually be doing is feel happy and grateful that you would not be married to someone who did not even interact with you to know about you. He let the weighing machine weigh your character. Obviously you would not want to marry a person like that. It is good news. Let us be happy for that, no.' 
Her flatmate did not cool down yet. 'Yeah, you are true, I should be happy. But what if all the people I know and will know in the future are like that? That is because, now that I think of it, girls who I thought would befriend me for what I am and of course, all the elderly aunts in my family also are the same. They judge me because I am thin. How correct is that? I am sure that some aunty lady would have told the guy that "look she is too thin. she is not suitable to marry." In fact, some so called friends are worse, whenever we go shopping for clothes, they direct me to the kids section. Is it my fault that I am thin? Is every one of them perfectly shaped? Does every woman need to have a so called curvy figure? Why can people not just be themselves and not indulge in bashing others for something they have no complete control on!'

Mahati understood her flatmate's agony and tried to console her. She said, ' Try not to think of all those. You might have only a handful of friends or people who like you for who you are. Only worry about those. Do not bother about others. When friends do such body shaming, it generally is in a very friendly manner, try to think of it that way. And when relatives say so, well, they are all relatives after all, what more do you expect.' she winked. 'However, even relatives try to tell for our "own good" you know. We do not realise it but we also do it quite often. After all, we are relatives for others too, is it not. None of us are Buddha or Gandhi. We do hurt others unknowingly. Just try to only take from what you hear, what you really need. All this might seem to be a way to escape the taunts of the society and not stand up against it boldly. But trust me, you would achieve nothing out of standing up. Nor do I say that you should start eating and exercising once someone comments on your skinniness and start dieting once someone starts bashing you for being a kilo heavier. Whatever others think of you, you do know that there always is someone who knows what you are. Don't let go of them! And now, enough of philosophy and let us eat before thermodynamics starts working on the imperfect hotpack!'

Mahati's friend who was listening all along laughed and asked, 'But what about me?'
Mahati's flatmate, who in her furore have not seen him till then, had a look at him.
He was five feet, three inches tall!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bucketing Down with a Shower

Well, yes, the title is a cheeky way to say that water is wasted when using a shower. But before starting any argument, let me confess that I use a shower daily, not because I like it, but because I have no luxury of using a bucket (In the west, you would find a lot of wastage of resources and energy). But somehow, there are a lot of people who are convinced that a shower wastes less water than a bucket bath. I do not think so. India has been facing water shortage since times unknown and we have come to a conclusion that using a bucket is the best way out. I support this 'tradition.' By the way, California too has just realised it. Maybe in few years time, we would be seeing buckets in every bathroom in California atleast.

One Quora explanation tells us to plug the water in the bath tub, take a shower and compare the water levels with the volume of a bucket. It is absolutely nonsense. Probably the writer got confused between a bucket and the bath tub (I am scared of the wastage created by a tub bath, so I will not even talk about it). I decided to do a simple experiment in a hostel bathroom in India. The reason for choosing a hostel bathroom is because generally in hostels, the shower faucets are clogged in most of the pores (the reason for this is a research problem no one has ever probed into) and thus I am literally using the slowest possible shower faucet. I filled a one liter mug with the water from the shower. It took me a bit more than 12 seconds for the mug to fill. That would mean 5 liters per minute and assuming 5 minutes for a bath, it consumed 25 liters of water. Assuming that those who believe that they are conserving water by taking showers will also bathe very fast, I cut down the bath time to a very very modest 3 minutes which brings down the consumption to 15 liters. Now, according to Milton, selling its products on Flipkart, the common bucket is 18 liters in volume, thus making a shower bath better, mathematically (in reality, it is not, you know! :-P)
However, to give an edge to shower faucets, I have made a lot of assumptions above. I have also not considered the initial wastage that generally occurs while using a shower and also the fact that a bucket is never filled to the brim (even the volume is calculated likewise).

Now, instead of my calculations, I look at the American "Faucet Flow Rate Regulations" (yes, there are such regulations), framed in 1994 (I really wonder if the US knows about a bucket! I am kidding, it does, Amazon.com sells them). According to the regulations, the maximum allowed flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute which is about 9.4 liters per minute. The aim is to bring that down to 1.2 gpm but that is only in California but let me assume this is the norm everywhere. Even though it is a huge, huge assumption, let me go ahead and say that every shower faucet in the US urinates 1.2 gpm or 4.5 liters per minute, rounded off. An average person showers for 8 minutes. That would mean 36 liters of water in total. Phew! Again, the 'conservationists' who believe shower bath is good would let's say bathe for only 5 minutes which makes the count 22.5 liters of water. Again in the shower's defense, let us assume that a common bucket has a volume of 22 liters. The shower still uses more water!

However, I am showering no praises on bucket bath. That is because in the true defense of those in support of a shower bath over bucket bath, I have always taken into account that those who go for bucket bath only use one bucket of water which might not be true. Using two or more buckets of water makes it way water consuming than a regular shower bath. But hey, I have assumed so much for the shower players, I can make this small assumption as well. Just keep in mind that there are millions who are still thirsty while we bathe daily/weekly. Overall, "a" bucket bath is way better than shower in the present circumstances at least! Also, c'mon, with a bucket bath, one can reach any particular spot on the body but that is not possible with a shower bath. Most importantly, you can take your time in a bucket bath without having to worry about turning off knobs. What is the point of taking a bath if one cannot stand and wonder or recollect the lyrics of a really long song!

Some disturbing links: