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.
From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International