My hotel bathroom here in Mumbai isn’t exactly what I’m used to.
Some things are the same: It’s perfectly clean, there’s a sink, a mirror, a toilet, a showerhead, a drain.
But then things get a little different. For one thing, the showerhead doesn’t seem to be functional. For another, the hot and cold taps seem to dispense the same temperature water (there is probably something I need to press to change that, but I haven’t been able to figure it out.) Then there’s the lack of shower curtain.
Lastly, there’s the bucket and pitcher. I was curious, to say the least. I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time in Southeast Asia, but this isn’t something I’ve seen before.
So I hit Google, and discovered that the ‘bucket bath’ is apparently quite popular in India. It saves water, and in a country where running water isn’t always a given – and hot water might be considered a luxury – that does make sense.
I can remember being called spoiled once or twice in my life, and while I hope I’m also a grateful and nice person, I definitely am spoiled in many ways, and compared to many, many people.
Until two days ago, I’d never seen a large-scale slum. But they’re all over Mumbai, a city of 22 million people. It puts my shower bucket into perspective.
So I’ve done my best to embrace my bucket and pitcher. I’ve splashed myself clean, and I’ve shimmied myself dry (they’re also not too big on towels, it seems). It’s hardly going to save the world, but it’s also not really much of a sacrifice for me to make, when you put things in perspective.
That’ll be one more memory for me to bring back from India, and a gentle little reminder to, hopefully, take fewer things for granted.