On my recent trip to India, I relived the old days by bathing in cold water. I was staying with my parents, and they have a small water heater that holds just enough water for a quick shower. But one day it broke, so I decided to use the cold tap water.
Why not, I thought; this is what I did every day when I was growing up in India.
I always took cold showers. It was difficult until I poured the first mug of freezing water over my head. After a quick shiver it wasn't too bad. The trick was to get in and get out of the bathroom as fast as possible. I would close my eyes and drench myself. Then I'd lather with lightning speed, rinse off, grab a towel and get out.
I did this every single day of my life until I left for the United States.
When I moved here, though, I learned that showering wasn't something you did in a hurry. You could relax as the warm water fell on your head. I've gotten used to the idea of enjoying a shower, especially in the winter.
So when I poured a freezing mug of water over my head back in India, I wasn't prepared. I had forgotten the art of showering with cold water.
The first touch of icy water made me shriek. My parents yelled through the door to ask if was OK.
I heard them, but couldn't get my voice out. I began to lather up, but my hands wouldn't move fast enough. I took a deep breath and somehow managed to rinse. When I got out and got dressed, I swore to myself I'd never do it again.
It's official: I have gone soft. But so has everyone else in my family. They all shower with hot water in winter, even when it is not so cold.
Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.