“Your bathroom is a room too….” Some ad-lines titivate while there are others which revolutionize not only the way you live but also the way you think. Who could have imagined potted plants, fresheners and designer floor-tiles displacing the monotony and colourlessness (not to mention the obnoxious smell) of your toilet (Isshhhh!!! That sounds so derogatory almost to the point of obscenity!!) to the extent that you would not like to relieve yourself, oops sorry, not that….actually you would like to relive all your rosy dreams for endless hours relaxing on the pot which by now miraculously appears to have evolved into a bejeweled throne of some sort… We, as a nation, have come a long way….from temptingly exposing our butts by the rail tracks to the ogling eyes of thousands of known and unknown passers-by to languidly stretching out our exhausted frames in sunk-in Jacuzzi lined bathtubs. From the quintessential (downmarket some would scoff) lota to the immaculate, not to say, imported designer wares which add multiple dimensions to our sinks, shower cubicles, commodes and what not and what not. The questions is why…why after all the bathrooms which were once considered absolutely dispensable (and unholy) structures while constructing a house…. an insult to human habitation to be added to the main portion of the house. Weren’t the lush green, beckoning meadows ideal enough to engage in that activity!!! Under the shady nook of an ancient tree by the rumbling brook while the birds chirped merrily and the bees hummed dizzily, ‘enlightenment’ embracing the crouched lurker in winged folds!! When you have the bounties of Nature at your disposal then after all why suddenly go extravagant on the room, which is actually not considered a room, by the typical Indian psyche? “Has your sense of propriety taken a dip in the Ganges? Its an insult to one’s intellect contemplating on such issues….” Snorted my 03.00 am friend. Then on an afterthought,”Of course, its the effect of globalization…..what else?” “Is it?” I was not convinced. “You cannot just pin everything down to that …” “Mankind have an inherent inclination to beautify everything around them…. luxuriate in the lap of extreme comfort……its the sensualist within us …..addiction to extravaganza….Remember the Hamaams… the medieval improvisation of modern day spas?” “Well…………..” “What else?” She sounded impatient to close the topic asap. “But have you ever delved further? What is the underlying urge in us which provokes mindless squandering in the name of aesthetics….” She looked dubious…. “We are self-seekers. We wish to feel elevated by ornamenting our surrounds…” She said at length. I remembered once when in the Office, the gents washroom was getting renovated, the ladies were asked to use the one attached to the Conference Hall while theirs was allocated to the ‘displaced’ male members of the fraternity. But the temporary brass plate on the entry door to the Ladies Room declaring it to be the “Gentleman’s Toilet” gave rise to a whole lot of speculations, which went beyond the bounds of sanitation, the main concern (especially amongst the ladies) being the procedure by which the Gentleman would get distinguished from the clan of non-Gentleman and where would the latter be accommodated if the lavatories were so precisely classified on intention specifics. “I think the act of relieving itself is an expression of freedom. We free ourselves of the junk accumulating everyday inside our body, medically speaking, and the resultant toxicity inside our mind too…..Swamiji says you have to cleanse your body first in order to have a clean slate for higher spiritual awakening……”Oh! My know-all friend!!! What would I have done without you? But I was only half listening….her advocacy of freedom beat African rock drums in my over-fertile cerebrum. Lately, the everyday walks with my pet are becoming quite tedious as she has become extremely selective about the spot where she would like to ‘seek freedom’, I mean, relieve herself. She goes sniffing and snooping about the service lane with me on tow patiently prodding her at intervals to be a little less choosy and finish off the day’s work without further fuss. But nothing doing! She is as independent minded as her other canine counterparts. Sniff…sniff….sniff…she goes till I almost throw up my hands in exasperation and let her be off leash for a while till she has determinedly located the coveted spot for attaining Nirvana. Well, isn’t she as much (if not more) a seeker as we, the deplorable humans are ? Coming to think of that on a positively serious note, will we be ever able to sniff and snoop into unclaimed territories or give a damn to trespass in quest of that ultimate freedom, which will, as my know-all friend propagates, expunge our body of filth and expel the poisonous pollutants from our minds that decimate all our uplifting achievements in a matter of seconds? The answer is an obvious no. We who call ourselves civilized are shackled to our own image. The day we transcend the bounds of civility we shall be emancipated. Till then the chains clang in disturbing notes and we bite dust in eternal search. I salute you Mr.Jean Jaque Rousseau, sir, after almost two and a half decades of having read you, the underlying assertion of your words pierce a hole in my wanting grey cells ………..Men are born free and they are everywhere in chains”. They are, aren’t they?