Monday, 11 January 2016

Of Showers and Songs- From the Diary of a Bathroom Singer

The key to being a good bathroom singer as any bathroom singer worth their salt will tell you, is to master the art of being un self-conscious and give into total abandonment. It is not the quality of your voice, no sir, it is the decibel level that counts.The louder and more shriller your voice, the greater the joy. To you, that is, not to the neighbors.


While growing up, even though we lived in an independent house and not apartments, the bathrooms had a special kind of acoustics and ventilation which meant that if anyone sang in the shower, it could be heard from 2 houses across. This was a matter of great enthusiasm and pride for us kids and generally, bath time meant crooning to the latest hit, only to realize that someone else is singing the same song too, somewhere down the lane.

My parents after years of banging on the bathroom door demanding that I shut up eventually gave up and let me get on with it.This was a momentous parenting decision by them as I was totally tone deaf.

I don't remember when my singing in the shower started dwindling. It was maybe when I started working. Showers then started to mean introspection time, thinking about what I did or didn't do at work, or crossing off chores to be done in my head or thinking about groceries and what to cook. After the birth of my baby, showers became a place of haven where I could go in and rest for a few minutes away from feeds and dirty diapers. It was also a place of litmus test to see if the new dad and baby could manage without me for a few minutes.

When I came back to my parent's house, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia when I stepped into my old bathroom.I could hear the rhythmic swish of the broom of the neighbor's gardener. Birds were gently chirping and I could hear the cat chase a bird. I could also hear my baby gently cooing and talking to her grandparents As had become a habit, I started brooding and fretting and thinking about the long list of things that had to be crossed off. Then from a distance, I heard the notes of a young bathroom singer down the lane. It was like I was instantly transported to the days of my childhood. A bit hesitantly, I opened my mouth but then realized in horror that I had forgotten how to be a bathroom singer. I realized I was feeling self-conscious, a strict no no! I swallowed and tried again. Voila! The notes got stronger and stronger and slowly the decibel level started increasing. With each passing second, I could feel the pent-up tension dissipating. My version of Adele's song reached a roaring crescendo and finally, when I stopped it was to total silence on the street. The cat had paused midway in its chase, the gardener stood rock still, the birds were silent and I think my baby stuffed his little fingers in his ears but I was beaming.

 A wise man once said – There are very few problems in the world that a good night's sleep, a glass of wine and a hot bath cannot solve. I'm going to add singing in the shower to this list too.