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Toilet Chronicles

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 😦


23 thoughts on “Toilet Chronicles

  1. Speaking of loos…you should see the one in my office…I have managed to learn how to turn without letting my clothes or other parts of my body touch the walls, or any other part of the loo.
    Anything to talk about loos….

  2. Idhellam sama waste. I had to use public loo’s. I mean the ones “Government of India” builds or chennai corporation builds on the roads. Go Damn, if u ever had to do this, you would love to sleep and eat in your office loo. Compared to any other loo’s these are pieces of architecture. All public loo’s are of the same cadre and design. Atleast the gents loo’s! Enter and there is a HUGE tank built of cement that has grey colour water with unknown and unidentifiable elements floating that have been made of non-existing chemical elements absent from the current periodic table in chemistry. The bucket of course is about 2 kilo’s, 23 years old, has 389 grams of rust sedimented on it. So you gotta literally carry the iron bucket + 1 kg of water = 3 kilos (excluding weight of the rust) and go to the loo. The loo of course is another story. The doors dont have locks, nor do they have hinges which make the door work. Once inside the loo you have to take the 45 kg iron door and put it in front of you (and pray it dont fall on you) so that no one can have a public display of you taking the crap. I often imagine how people with arthritis like myself or old ones or smaller ones carry the bucket but then i need to mention the one guy or woman who collects 2 rupees after promptly asking explicitly “onnukka, illa kuckoose’a?” helps bring the water and put it inside the toilet for you and sometimes even offer to wait outside till you get out!

    Of course the entire toilet in itself does not have a concealed drainage, its all open and you have to walk on human urine and feces whether you like it or not. No wonder the infant mortality rate still is about 17% in slums who have to use such toilets for their daily living.

  3. Sinduja > I can write a post about your office loo also just the sheer amount of information I have about it! 😛

    Blogeswari > that can be sequel to this post 😀

    Dilip > thalaiva!

    Anoop > seriously!

  4. hahaha! whats with people writing about loos of late. I recently read one on another blog, forgot which, cuz i read tons of blogs each day.

    hers was more informative though, like what is an indian squat, and stuff like that.

    yours was more fun. relate to it, totally, the gap in the rmz loos bothered me a lot. the floors were so shiny that if you looked at an angle, you could see the person in the neighbouring stall.


  5. LOL @ Google loos.

    I loved the loos at MV. Rememeber them? Very convenient, I say. Ping me if u want to know more 😉

    I hate public loos. I have not used one until I came to Google and until I came to the US. I’ve always managed to not go to any of them even in 2-3 day train journeys. Now, coming to think of it, I’ve lost that capability. Sigh.

  6. At Times Of India in Bbay we had maha posh loos..so posh were they hat it was common for both men and women..very Ally McBeal..nice and all but the number of oops situations that I have had there..apppa yenna vedanai !

  7. I recently came across a one which had a TV in it, at a student hangout in Berlin…so one can sit there comfortably and watch the games…that’s cool…

  8. Even I have faced this ‘toilet locking’ experience in college on Sundays. Luckily, Spencer plaza was there for our refuge 😉 epadi, soopera ?

  9. Funny… talk of the loos. I remember the public toilet tht we found on our way to ooty. It was a restroom of a bus terminus of a small town… Kadavulae…there was only a wall near the entrance… after we got in, we thought we came out the other side… I mean there was nothing inside…no doors also!

  10. mindboggles!!! a very well-written note on loos, i say!

    as a guy, the good thing is that the world is yoour urinal…the outdoors are often much cleaner and give you a sense of calm and a larger perspective on life…


  11. I could witness some people who have time to discuss about their concerns about public loos, especially lot of ladies too……

    Let’s do something about it……..

    Let’s direct our minds (generally getting wasted) towards some thoughts to improve the situation and put them into action…….. OK, we are speaking about chennai, or Tamil nadu or India all together…. whatever is the scope

    1. We all agree, Public toilets to be clean. By the way, how many are there in the state? May be 10 for a city, some thing like 100 or 150 in the state.
    2. What we need is a management to take care of it. Where from we get the people for managing this?
    3. NGOs are not reliable, next option is to show money in the business. Not like getting it from customers. (Which will be eventually get in to the pockets and into the cleanliness).
    4. May be a kind of cleanliness certificate to toilets.

    Like this

    Grade A – can take Rs. 5 from customer
    Grade B – can take Rs 2 from customer
    Grade C – abandoned in the state.

    and Grade A+ will get additional bonus gift from government or people like us who has excess cash to contribute to the world.

    This makes it more sensible…………

    I invite u to give more ideas, and more thoughts for improvement. But beyond that, some body has to put that in action.

    As I does not stay in that part of the world, One of you has to initiate the action. But definitely it is worth it……. may avoid some more people discussing on the subject, may give good impact on the percentage of people put on death by these toilets……….

  12. Pingback: Immanuel is a Pundai | The Order of the Crutch

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