Monday, July 30, 2007

The world is their toilet.

In a recent post, when I expressed my ire about a man urinating in public, I was flummoxed to find at least two people commenting on the lines of, "Poor guy, there are no public toilets, what else can he do?"

Poor guy, no restroom. Sooooo sad. What do you think we females do when we are in that situation? We also have bladders, you know, that sometimes get uncomfortably full. Have you seen females do what males so blatantly do? No, you haven't! Why? Are there special restrooms only for women, that are invisible to male eyes? Or do the contents of our bladders just evaporate by magic?

For heavens' sake, we face the same problem! And so what do we do?

Let me tell you what I do.

* When I know that I am going somewhere where there will be no easy access to toilets, I avoid drinking fluids for about an hour before I leave.

* The last thing I do before I leave is use the toilet.

* In spite of these precautions, if my bladder gets full, I control. Until I reach a toilet.

* If I am in a state where I just HAVE to go, then I look around for a restaurant. Most restaurants oblige if you say you have to use their restroom. At one restaurant, I was politely told, "Only for customers, ma'am", and so I went in, ordered and paid for a cup of tea that I did not drink, used the toilet and came out vastly relieved.

But of course, why would males go through so much trouble? Just find a wall and pull down your zipper and you are done. Busy road? No problem? In full view of everybody, females and children alike? No problem. The stench resulting from your action? No problem. Health hazards because of your urinating everywhere? Nooooo problem.

Please. When you know that there aren't going to be restrooms when you need it, don't you have to prepare accordingly?

And don't give me BS about how there are no public toilets, what is the government doing and what not. Dozens of public toilets (like "Nirmala") have sprung up in Bangalore. And what do I see? Men standing NEXT to these clean, inexpensive toilets and relieving themselves. Men toting mobiles, who can afford to pay the rupee or two to use these toilets. The world is their toilet, after all!

Yes, it is a fact that we do need more public toilets, but more than that we need a whole shift in the attitudes of the people.

A channel (MTV? Or is it Channel V?) had gone on a drive, taping these obnoxious people indulging in public urination, and broadcasting it - I thought at that time that it was a great idea. But I wonder, if these fellows are so shameless as to pee in public, will they feel any kind of shame if they appear on TV performing a private act? Most likely, they will just be thrilled that they are on TV.

Is there any solution at all?

[My mom had written on the same issue, and related problems, in "Sudha" of June 7th, 2007 [Page 30]. [In Kannada] If you cannot find a copy, you can read it online at]


Poppins said...

Oh what a rant ! I love it. You know what's worse? My neighbor teaching her boys to urinate on the road close to our apartment complex. I know they are children and maybe cannot control themselves, but you have to plan for that !

I'm sure in India of all places, you can always knock on somebody's door and ask to use a toilet.

Abhi said...

This reminds me of a dialogue from the movie "hazaaron khwaishein aisi" where Shiney Ahuja does the same act and says "To pee under the open sky, If there is bliss, it is dis"!!!

haathi said...

well said! and hilariously put! it makes my blood boil when i see men like that. its true, they are a disgusting bunch that have the easy way out in more ways than one. at an advantage because of biology and many yars of nobody questioning anything..
and lets not even get strted on eve teasing and public obscenity..sigh

parijata said...

Well, why would a man want to use a Nirmala toilet (and spend a rupee) if he could relieve himself on the road and not get punished for it?

The other day I saw a man, a well-dressed one at that, urinating, standing right next to a Nirmala toilet. It was really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I see, you conveniently shortened what I said(presumably, my comment was one of those which flummoxed you!).

I have sympathy for anyone who has their sensibility offended in this manner. However, that should have nothing to do with the country being rich or poor. Like I said in my other comment, similar and possibly worse things happen everywhere, including the USA.

Well, you probably want something to rant err.. blog about. I guess it is not wise of me to ask you get over the superficial knee jerk reaction and look at the bigger picture. Reason has never matched passion in attracting people.

By the way, have you ever done something that you shouldn't? Such as, cheating in the exams or false declaration at the customs. Or, maybe you have someone in the family taking bribes as part of their job. How about getting indignant at those things for a change?

Sorry, if that really gets you mad. I don't want to have you blogging about what a bad person I am! Nor, do I want to heckle you. Best you delete this comment and I delete you from my blog roll!

Shruthi said...

Poppins, heh heh, thanks ;) You are right. I actually wanted to put a "children can be excused until a certain age" clause in the post... but I have seen kids urinating outside their schools, watched by their parents. That is inexcusable, unless the school has dirty or no toilets, in which case that is inexcusable ;)

Abhi, in the open fields, behind the bushes, on long distance drives? Yeah perhaps :D

Haathi, exactly. Probably they do it because they CAN. :O

Parijata, yup, I have seen that sight so often, it surprises me.

Anon, whoa! Unless you are one of the publicly urinating men, this rant is not directed at you.
But since you seem to be so offended, I will answer anyway. Yes, this has nothing to do with being rich and poor... nor was that the issue in the previous post. Here I am talking only about public urination that cuts across all classes. IF you want to continue discussion on superpowers, lets do it in the comments section of the other post.
Oh btw, I haven't misinterpreted .... nor was your comment the trigger for this post. This has been coming for a long long time.
Sure, give me the bigger picture. I would like to see it.
And no, I haven't done anything I shouldn't, not consciously at least. And nor have anybody in my family, as far as I know (saying this at the risk of sounding righteous... but it is true).
And as for raising my voice, I have been doing so for a very long time.. go back and read all my posts if you want...
Btw, if I had to keep speaking up against things which bother me, this blog would just be full of rants.
If a simple difference of opinion makes you want to take me off your blogroll, please go ahead and do it! IT will take much much more for me to delete a comment from my blog.

Anonymous said...

Good one. " Is there a solution to this? ". I have had this discussion umpteen times with my cousins and every time it has only ended with cynisism and hoplessness. About such things happening abroad, I can vouch for the UK and Europe ( if having lived and traveled for over 4 years has any credibility),only drunken men/women indulge in public nuisance (pavement pissing being one of them). No normal, sane person indulges in such activities. Unlike in our country where the problem is with the basic attitude and mentality. I appreciate that you have rightly pointed this out in your post. I can't help but mention that the anon's comment was not made with the right attitude. ( IMO, this is not about who has the last word, or a bigger say or for that matter even bloggers, its about the issue , howeevr big or small) and I loved you for saying.. "If a simple difference of opinion makes you want to take me off your blogroll, please go ahead and do it! IT will take much much more for me to delete a comment from my blog. " Keep going shru ..
--C (Bhel)

Altoid said...

Shruthi : Totally agree, that its deplorable. And totally out of control.

I have one remark about Anon's comment : Agree to your point that it doesnt matter if the country is rich or poor. But to some extent, there are checks and balances. For example, in Singapore(such a small "country, easy to lay down the law!) the fines are hefty for a wide range of no-nos from chewing gum to defecating in public places. There are big signs posted everywhere. Their policy is, if you wont listen to civic reason, paying a fine will make you! Do we see any such rules/laws in India? Again to your point of drunk teenagers vomitting, yes, true it happens. But then there are laws/rules in place for everything- teenage driving, teenage drinking....still atrocities and violence is rampant. But then there is an make it a better and safe place.

That is all that needed- civic sense. I think that is the gist of this and related posts.

Anyway I didnt mean to make a mini-post here Shruthi, or start a mud-slinging match.


Anu said...

rofl....but unfortunately its true, it holds the case everywhere..

Anonymous said...

Shru, I live in an apartment complex that's populated by the so-called educated class of society.

Imagine my horror when I was told by one of the other mothers that some moms (forget about maids) allow the kids to pee in the play area, despite there being a rest room just across the play area in the clubhouse.

It's not education, it's just basic courtesy. Doesn't it ever cross their minds that other kids will be running all over their nonsense?

But we Indians have a direct connection to God that puts us above these basic human values.

God, how I just hate the hypocrisy!

Krish said...

Thatz why I carry travel John in my backpack :-)

shark said...

I have to agree here with Poppins and ano. Parents need to be taught first.
They actually "teach" then to urinate in public, throw bin on the road etc :(
I have tried to explain to many about not doing it but I always end up with the same answer from them "everybody does it. what diffrence will it make if I don't do it" I am like what!!! so if everybody go and fall in a well, will you do too ? grrrr

and oh ya! some of my educated male friends have this excuse that they have smaller bladders as compared to women and hence lesser tolerance!! so? will they booze any lesser ;-)?

drifter-musings said...

Er, embarrassingly so, some childhood memories come rushing goes....

About 8 years back, my cousin, a draconian Army sergeant, had come down to our city, to pay us a breezy visit. After picking him up from the railway station we were driving back home, when to our horror we saw a man relieving himself in front of our boundary wall!!!Before we could do anything, my cousin jumped off from the car, ran to him (who btw was still enjoying his little adventure!), turned him around, and slapped him so hard that the poor man was stunned into silence. He had no time to protest, no time to finish his "job", leave alone time to zip his trousers. No protests, no whining, no toungue lashing....Methinks, he saw my cousin's army uniform and balked!!!!

That was the last we saw of that urinating feind (or for that matter any!), who made good use of our boundary wall. I am sure my cousin has been immortalised as an urban legend, who comes alive whenever any urinating sicko goes on a pissing spree. Believe me that slap still reverbrates in my ears!

Viky said...

I'm wondering how the post is still here. For the amount of heat and smoke here, it should have smouldered into deep dusky ashes.

Great rant - I can imagine you with a scowl, showing the finger to the world!!! :D

One advice - Keep S and A away while answering comments. God help us all if A wails or S calls you when you are smoking from your ears...

s, n said...

I think its all because of the attitude and nothing else.

(i) People who are uneducated or under-educated or who have not seen other places are with this "chalta hai" attitude.

(ii) People who have seen other places think that if it is OK with some other place, it is OK in India also.

I feel both of them are equally bad and only a change in attitude (probably can be brought in only by enforcement) can help.

Nice post and thanks for introducint Sudhaezine. It's very refreshing to read sudha. I have been missing it for quite sometime now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great rant, and great reactions! Ha ha! I couldn't help but smile at the person who wanted to delete you from his/her blogroll because of a varied opinion? I have read that when you start getting really heated resposes, it means that you're getting popular:)

Anonymous said...

nice blog shruthi. yes, nobody can tolerate seeing men urinating in public. i dont find any dif bet a dog lifting its hind leg whenever it comes across a pole or the wheels of a parked vehicle and a man pulling his zip down when he sees a wall. yes, they take advantage of their biology and spoil the whole environment. I dont feel like accepting change from autodrivers, for the same reason. I even hesitate to buy vegs and fruits. they are all handled hygienically by peeing people. I know a wall on which men regularly urinated, and one fine day i almost puked when I saw the same footpath full of sapotas (chikus) for sale.
Parents and teachers should first have sense before teaching this to their children. only they can solve the problem.

chitra said...

shruthi, i am totally irritated with people urinating and spitting on the streets.

The other day, i was in an auto on my way from office, when one of this fancy Ac cars, whizzed past us, the guy opened his glass pan and spitted the tobacco and all of it fell on us . He realised it, instead of stopping and apologising he sped away. Ofcourse, his stopping the vehicle could nt have undone the harm but some consolation to us.

Regarding urinating, the other day one of my male friends was explaining how irritating it was for his wife when her colleague requested to stop the vehicle mid way so that he can ease himself. And what, i was just about to praise him for being understand when his last sentence horrified me. Huis concern was the rest of the journey she had to see to it that she sits with both her hands on her lap and a bit far away so that his hands casually does not touch her!!
but Shruthi, i do remember, a documentary seen long time ago, when i was a child. There were not many public toilets then and even now, there are not many. People who are diabetic, feel the need to urinate more often. So, I really think twice before i really have to get irritated at the sight.

chitra said...

i am sorry , I had to just add another point on children. We have nappies for little babies, little children, can not control and so we are at times left with no opportunity but to take them to the nearest open drain, which is found in all cities of India. But let me tell you, young boys are more ashamed to do it in the streets. Two years back, my son , rushed home, in a hurry , but unfortunately cold not control and wetted his under garment. We did tell him that enroute he could have just found a corner and relieved himself but it was a vehement no from him as he felt ashamed to unzip in public.

Madhu said...

Shruthi...I got reminded of our talks in college when I read this post!
One thing is people using the roads as public toilets, and the other is commenting and joking about the fact that people abroad don’t do this in their countries! I’ve heard educated people talk lightly about the fact that there is a fine for such an act in other countries and how ridiculous that is!
I have always wondered what is with these people’s sense of smell. I have had to cross the road yards before the urine covered walls and these people manage to stand right there without a care in the world!
I wonder when pet dogs can be trained not to pee inside the house why some “humans” cant understand the fact that they have to use toilets to let go???

I love Lucy said...

Shruti,well written post.

A house was getting constructed two plots away from our house in BSK and the women in the construction worker-crew took it for granted that the empty plot next door was their lavatory.My mother would scream her throat hoarse trying to explain the demerits of their act but it was of no use whatsoever.Even a complaint to the Engineer/Architect on site fell on deaf ears.Finally,my parents spoke to the owners themselves and insisted that they get a make-shift lavatory built.Don't know about the lavatory but we did not see those women peeing in the site next door after that day.


Shrinidhi Hande said...

Well written. People dont mind spending 20-30 Rs per day on cigarates and Ghutkas etc but do not want to pay Re 1 at public toilet. That is the reason.

Solution: Can't govt make the public toilets free? They can put advertisements inside and outside and recover operational expense. Corporates like Infy have spent lot of money in setting up these places, if they can make little more effort and make them free for usage, it will be huge success.

Because we neither punish wrong doers, nor appreciate those who care, spend their money. Hence the problem.

Kadalabal said...

I have gone thro your earlier post as well this one too. I know the problems faced by ladies in this regard. particularly category which does not take precautions which you have written you will take in your own case. while travlelling along with family we understand the seriousness of it and I fully echo your views.
this is one side look at the large no. of indians who particlarly lady folk have go for toilet either in the early morning or in evening when it is dark this situation though improved a lot has not reached a stage of comfort and this can be seen even in cities where the poor labourers are residing may be consturction workeres or others ofcousrse people have become concisous and whereever posible use the public toilets even if they have to pay but what about areas where nothing is there
this is a social evil and needs to be eradicated by sufficient infrastructure so the decency prevails everywhere.
a though provoking witeups and hope things will improve in the years to come


Shruthi said...

C(Bhel), thank you :)

Altoid, thank you, well put.

Anu, sigh, yeah!

Ano, haaa yes.... its unbelievable how parents themselves stand by and instruct kids to do this, what can you possibly expect the kids to become?

Krish, heyyy that's so cool!

Shark, precisely! When will people understand that every little action matters? :( hey and I have heard this smaller bladder argument too... I wonder if it is true! Whatever, they should be prepared anyway since they know they cannot hold for long!

Drifter-musings, ah what a lovely story! Please shake your cousin's hand on my behalf! How I wish there were more people like him :)

Viky, hee hee... don't worry, I used a fire extinguisher before approaching the little one ;)

s,n, yeah! And glad you found sudhaezine useful :)

Anon at 10 57, heh heh ;) thanks!

Anon at 11 13, yuckkk!!

Chitra, unbelievable stories! And yes, about diabetic people.... but what fraction of the men are diabetics? And you are so right.. children have much more sense! Give your son a hug from me :)

Madhu, rofl! :D So true! We need to give toilet training to these people also!

Smitha, thank you :) so nice to see you here! You know, we are facing the identical problem right now at my mom's place. The problem is not with the women, but the men. It has got sorted out now, anyway.

Shrinidhi, you've got a point. Don't know about the feasibility, though.

Pranesh, thank you.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Request to read my post on this for feasibility and let me know what you think.

Rahi said...

i am a man but i seldom appreciate men freshening up in public.

in delhi, the ISBT will give you an idea of what men can do if given a free hand. on most lanes, it's difficult to walk with your nose uncovered.

and this is a place where there are around a dozen public toilets available. can't men wait until they have reached a toilet.

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