I have a phobia for public toilets. Not just using them, just even being around them. But you know life, especially mine. There are times when you just do not have a choice and will be forced to pee in the weirdest of public loos. This phenomenon has been haunting me from as early as my school days.
I studied in a school that was run by the Arya Samaj, hence very rooted in ‘culture.’ They were so obsessed with it that we had separate schools for boys and girls in most places. But the more recently started schools like mine had to be co-ed for a very basic simple reason – lack of space. The oldies on the board weren’t deterred by this. They put their creaky minds to work and figured out an ingenious solution. They decided to put boys and girls in class 8 and above in separate classrooms on separate floors. They then figured that we could still like talk to each other while walking from one class to another (rolling eyes). So they decided to go one step further and make two stairways, one for the girls and the other for the boys. Wow! But there was one faux pas. The girl’s toilet was near the boy’s staircase. So the only time the cute boys could be eyed is when you’re waiting in line to pee or when you’re drying your hands on your way out from the loo. Not pretty at all!
Then came college. I studied in a girl’s college. No problems of opposite sex at all there cos the only man in the compound was our super sexy grey haired chowkidar. But the row of toilets close to our block, for those one off urgent occasions, was the only one in the college with a big long mirror. Even if one wasn’t interested in using the mirror, just fighting the mob in front of it to access the toilet was a feat one had to master. My college also treated these loos with a lot of care. They were promptly locked everyday at the end of the day and only opened the next day at 7 in the morning. But I was one of those unfortunate people who reached college at 6 in the morning for almost a year cos of NCC practice. In the unfortunate event of having to use the loo in the morning, the only other option available was the security guards’ loo in the parking lot. For one, its extremely unclean, for another, it’s filled with cigarette butts and weird looking men looking harassed after their night shift. Talk about fate!
In Google, the toilets were extremely posh and the only thing one had to worry about was the gap in the wall between two toilets. It functioned solely on trust. But there’s no stopping anyone who’d want to peep from their toilet into yours or even pulling your leg, literally. But then, they were posh loos! And there were so many of them, that there was always the option of picking the loo which had no one in the adjacent one.
And then my current workplace kinda takes the cake! The office space is definitely not a big architect designed one. But the major faux pas here is the loo again. There’s one door that leads to the loo, both ladeej and gentz. The door opens into a narrow passage which has one door on the right and one at the far end. The door on the right opens into the men’s loo and the door on the far end leads to ladeej loo. There’s nothing more embarrassing or irritating than running into someone in that narrow passage that just about holds two people. Especially with the rains, the doors are all creaking and groaning every time they’re opened. Today, I was stuck in there with another guy who was yanking the door to his loo and I was yanking mine. If there ever was an awkward silence, this is it! I tell you 😦