There used to be a pile of carefully selected books and magazines in my cousin’s bathroom, but I took some time to find out why he was spending a long time in the toilet. A few claim that they have acquired their reading habits from the toilet while doing the needful. And for me it is a totally intriguing realization that most of the voracious readers are born in the toilets, if the claim holds any water. I would love to have such dexterity in my genes too.
But for me relieving and reading seem to be the tasks of two completely different departments. There are joy and excitement attached to both. I can do them equally with certain flexibility but at different times and places. It is like people selling garments or setting up stalls during local tshechus. I am unprepared to sacrifice the joy of one with the other. In both the activities, one has to watch and concentrate and enjoy every phase of it. Reading requires concentration because when we read, we focus and pay attention to every word and fit them together to give us a certain meaning and understanding.
I can’t imagine myself, sitting on the pot, with so much pain in my tummy, a wild diarrhea shooting eighty kilometers per hour and at the same time attempting to read a few lines from Milton. When your stomach is upset, you lose your ‘paradise’ and even the chanting of mantras won’t have the power to restore it, but the real act of relieving itself.
During the preparation for the exams, I discovered that if I study in odd places, I remembered the concepts at the critical hours. Because we associate the concepts and theories with the places, our memory department retains the record for a longer duration. This is just lone man’s defenseless hypothesis and please don’t try this at home. But even if this carries a fraction of truth, it is still different. Here we are talking about just one activity – studying in odd places like the toilet (not the stinking ones though or else you would end up not writing your exams).
Still I would like to think that one’s attention is divided while attempting to read as you try to dislodge unabsorbed or undigested portion of the food. But I definitely respect the extraordinary skills of those who can comfortably read and relieve at the same time.
Read, focus, relieve and concentrate.