Saturday, November 9, 2013

Disturbing pic of my early morning bedroom and how the Japanese got it right

The funniness of what we call as 'bedroom', in the modern context, has dawned upon me. And quite conclusively.

In the second line of the wikipedia page on 'bedroom', you find this:
To be considered a bedroom the room needs to have a bed.
Actually, this line makes it feel like 'bed' is just one of the objects in the bedroom. Quite so. But mathematics isn't just about numbers. It's also about space. The modern bedroom is typically filled with the bed, in a manner that no other substantial object can be placed or accommodated in the bedroom. At least, for the majority of people who've been able to afford a bedroom.

And that no other substantial object can be placed in the bedroom, means other than resting or sleeping or making love (variants of the same posture I would say), no substantial activity can take place.

Given that a mighty number of us find ourselves doing work which doesn't quite make us exert ourselves, at least physically, in any great manner, this bedroom turns out to be a great roadblock on the way to good health. Let me elaborate.

We have risen substantially in population. Per capita space available is very limited. That's the reason we find such congestion on the roads, in the malls, in the gyms et al. And when I mention gym, I can easily say that reaching the gym is also an inconvenience in general, in a world which has made contraptions for convenience of all kinds even for the smallest of things we do.

After entering the gym, the nightmare doesn't end. Certain gadgets or equipment might have queues for use.

That makes whatever per capita space available to us a really precious thing. Space that is undividedly available for personal use, no matter the time. And that is occupied by the bed.

First you shape the building, then the building shapes you.

So you start shaping your undivided personal space with a good bed in the little space you have for yourself. Now is the bed's turn to shape you. And shapes you, it does. Pretty well.

Am I saying bed isn't needed?

Nope! Given the space an individual has to himself and the work he does in the modern context, I am saying naming the space blindly as 'bedroom' has entailed a massive cost on our well-being. We've taken it for granted that such a space can be nothing but a 'bedroom'. And the thing that we end up doing is installing a bed that doesn't leave much space for very very important things. And our architects and interior designers perpetuate the crime.

Let me go back a bit. When the convenient technologies weren't available and when majority of the people exerted themselves physically and really hard during the day, they perhaps found it very very comforting to come back home, do nothing more than cooking and eating, and simply go to bed. Having a ready mattress would be the perfect luxury. Since the space outside the house exercised majority of the people, inside the house dedicating space to sleeping was just a great complement. But now, no longer so.

In fact, there's very little space outside for healthy exertion. And, even inside, there's mostly the bed.

If we really want to make the space available count and if we really want a healthy body, here are a couple of things.

Futon. We all have seen this thing. From wikipedia:
A futon is traditional Japanese bedding consisting of padded mattresses and quilts pliable enough to be folded and stored away during the day, allowing the room to serve for purposes other than as a bedroom.

There's more. Wall-bed. Also called Murphy bed. Wikipedia narrates the legend:
According to legend, he (William Lawrence Murphy) was wooing an opera singer, but living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco, and the moral code of the time frowned upon a woman entering a man's bedroom. Murphy's invention converted his bedroom into a parlor, enabling him to entertain.
Now that surely takes care of a man's health, no!