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A chakki bath

Bathing is an adult equivalent of kids playing – it does not have to be planned in advance and whenever it happens much delight is derived from it. I might have been giving the laughing deer a complex when I bathed in the stream that powered the watermill above me. Right next to me was the wooden cog that powered the atta chakki or the flour mill bucketing water at me like a miffed sea monster. I didn’t know what made me happier – being able to clean up after a full day of arduous climbing or discovering an ode to human ingenuity in the middle of nowhere.

The chakki bath is cozy, delirious

The ‘nowhere’ was Pauna, a remote mountain hamlet 20 kilometres by foot from Chamoli (250 km from Dehradun) in Uttarakhand. I was here collecting industrial hemp seeds for a pet project. All through the night it had snowed vastly impeding my progress and work. Nevertheless, the wonderful folks the pahaadis are, I was assigned two helpers by the village Mukhiya who helped me finish on time. I was on level ground with three hours to go before the last transport out which would drop me at the rest house. Walking by the watermill, I first thought it was a miniature barn till the chug-chugging of the cogs made me explore. Save for the illustrations of the watermills invented by the Greeks and the Romans I had seen in encyclopaedias, I had never seen a real one.

Now as I splashed about in the water that also churned the mill, I was a happy man. It might even have been crazy tiredness. Still, being next to the simple marvel of a handy contraption, I felt Alive is Awesome.


  • Ragvinder Rekhi said:

    Reminds me of a similar situation years ago. I had taken my son and 5 of his cousins, all about 13-15 years old, to camp in Sangla. Right next to our tents was a stream rushing by to join the Baspa river (which later joins the Sutlej). We had driven all day from Shimla, and by the time we reached Sangla we had drunk all our water, were tired, dehydrated and I had a splitting headache. When I saw this stream, I had no doubts. Stripped off my clothes and sat under the falling water. Awesome! Still remember that sensation of rejuvenation.

  • kshema said:

    Can I write about when I took bath next to a lizard in Chowara bathroom?

  • Thommen Jose said:

    Was the lizard a mute witness or did it die shortly afterwards?

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