How often do you feel pressured to seek refuge atop a potty? If you were me when I was a school going kid, it would happen at least once everyday between 6pm and 9pm. Let me explain.
I was never an outstanding student, though I was sometimes ordered by the teacher to stand outside the class. When I was at home, I would confine my rendezvous with school books within the 6-9pm bracket. That doesn't mean to say that I would utilize the full 3hrs in intellectual pursuits. It simply meant that no matter how intense the pressure to study or complete a homework, I wouldn't ever allow my studying period to spill outside this region of time.
Spending those 3hrs had become a daily ordeal…and over the years I had perfected the art of studying as negligibly as possible and still managing to expend those dreadful hours of drudgery.
When I was in junior school, accompanying Dad was the easy solution as it always happened during my study time. The outing would conveniently eat into my study time and I could always pester him to buy me something! When in senior school, using such a trick would be too silly and anyone would be able to see through my excuse. So I simply and shamelessly treated myself to a break from studying whenever Dad would go out. I used this recess to dream of girls, go to the verandah and try to recognize the constellations, flip through non-academic books, talk to didi, and the like. As soon as Dad returned, I would go back to studies and pretend to be profoundly engrossed in my books. How convenient!
But even this extended recess that happened unfailingly everyday wouldn't be enough to buffer the 3 endlessly long hours. I had devised a solution that I guess was used for most of my formative years. I would retreat to the toilet for potty business at around 8:30. This was the domain my over imaginative self would yearn for. My ingenuity came up with all sorts of inventive things to keep me mentally occupied. I would hum, whistle, calculate, fantasize, dream…and read comics in the toilet.
I had an absolutely huge assortment of comics. My abysmal memory made the rereads almost as interesting as the first read. We also had a newspaper rack pretty close to the toilet. I would slip some of my magazines between the newspapers. Each time I had to escape from the drudgery of academia, I would conveniently be accompanied by one of these comics that otherwise remained clandestinely sandwiched between the newspapers. Mounting myself over the potty, I began blissfully reading through the pictographic pages. Phantom and Superman were my favorite potty partners. Sometimes, potty business would be long over before reading business, something I would realize only after the reading was over.
Not every visit to the toilet was accompanied by a Phantom or Spiderman. My wild imagination was often enough to concoct stories on its own. It so happened that the region of wall directly below the cistern was perennially damp…and the dampness would cause colored patches of blue to be formed. I allowed myself to imagine shapes out of these spots and spin a story around them. A speeding train, a forest, two judo experts locked in combat, a growling face, birds flying in the sky, a lady carrying a pitcher, etc were all characters around whom I would conceive a non-coherent and non-compelling adventure. The storyline, though not very convincing, was a better mental dabble than memorizing the history and salient features of a non-descript temple that looked less distinguished than a municipal lavatory!
The potty expedition reached a climax when enough time was exhausted and it was time to return to civilization. Our cistern was rather cranky and had to be yanked hard to flood the potty. The yanking called for subtle twists and turns I reveled in!
I finally emerged victorious from my escapade often lugging a comic under an arm that would once again clandestinely slip between the newspapers. My entertainment zone served me faithfully during all those years of schooling. What I did in there would remain a secret from much of the world if this post wasn't published. Didi was perhaps the only exception. She knew all along the kind of things that happened during my potty sojourns. So each time I emerged from the toilet, she would retort,"Oh, so you've finally come out! I thought you had fallen asleep in there."
Addendum: The word 'Potty' has been used in a euphemistic sense. The reader should not take it at face value.