Saturday, August 01, 2009

it's called taking the piss

You've been doing a subtle version of the twist, jig and fox-trot for the last 13 & a 1/2 minutes. You've been loosening your facial muscles while contracting other ones in an effort to look normal. You finally manage to find a public toilet and then the gatekeeper demands that you pay up 2 rupees before you enter. You flap your hands wildly and nod your head vigorously and hiss, "I'll pay you later."

In the corridor, the gatekeeper's aunties and nieces in various stages of age, weight and nudity, are sprawled in large pools of water, washing themselves and their clothes. You leap and bound across all of them, in imminent danger of slipping into one of the pools, and adding the contents of your bladder to the soapy torrents of water rushing towards the drain.

Inside the toilet, there is no hook for your bag or your dupatta. Your sunglasses hooked on to the front of your kurta fall off, and you catch them just before they fall into the dodgy contents of the Indian style toilet, immensely relieved that you haven't had to face the moral dilemma of renouncing them or fishing with your hands to procure them back because they are so very, very expensive. Of course, the toilet door doesn't close, so you hold one stem of the glasses in your mouth, roll the dupatta round and round your neck, sling your bag across your shoulder, undo your pajamas, all with one hand, while keeping the other firmly on the door.

Then you semi-sit-squat-stand, and pee, grateful that you learned this trick long ago, much to the chagrin of your more conservative mother. 

And it feels more wonderful than anything else on earth. In your relief, you relax a little, and your hand falls off the door. You remember with a fond smile how your insouciant younger self regularly walked into a 5 star hotel in your hometown only to use the facilities. But the security checks at hotels now could be your undoing, you think. Someone pushes the toilet door from outside and jolted out of nostalgia, you push it back with a loud growl of proprietary anger.

Then you complete all the earlier manouvres in reverse, i.e tying up your pajamas, etc., with one hand and now with one leg thrust against the door as well. Ah, someone may say, "what about washing uhmm your uhmm or dabbing with toilet paper?", and you say "the least said the better, this is as far as things can go with one hand and one leg out of requisition".

You come outside, and your spine is a little straighter, and you could be humming if you didn't see the gatekeeper again signaling for the two rupee coin. "This is supposed to be a free urinal", you shout, pointing at the notice. The gatekeeper feigns a contemptuous ignorance of any written material. You fling a coin down and walk away, thinking well, you are going to be OK for a few more hours at least.

(Would love to see Paro's film 'Q2P')

17 comments:

dustedoff said...

Hilarious! And so, so true. I was reminded of the first paid loo I ever had to visit. My husband and I were travelling in Malaysia, and had just gotten off the train to take the ferry to Penang. I was gritting my teeth when I spotted a loo and hurried off, leaving my husband to make his way to the pier to buy tickets... and of course I didn't keep any money with me.

Well, the loo was desi style and there was a long pipe to hose yourself down, but I didn't realise - until I came out - that the woman at the entrance was there to take money from all users. And she wouldn't let me go fetch it from my husband. A stranger sweetly paid for me, and then vanished before I could get the money and reimburse...

Kaevan said...

If this was facebook, I'd say I like it :)

Space Bar said...

oh yes! and it's *much* worse if you're third stage pregnant.

Grasshopper said...

ha ha ha. I wonder if I will ever be able to piss in a public two rupee urinal without you and your dupata round your neck, Banno.

memsaab said...

Glad you rescued your expensive sunglasses :-)

anja said...

OMG Banno you were why LOL was coined and ROTFL..what images you create with your words. LOVE it!!!! I love the leg holding the door closed and the dupatta strangling you and your mid air squat/stand, i know the position all too well from my travels across the desh. My question is, how did you growl loud enough at the intruder with the sunglasses in your mouth? haha!

bollyviewer said...

ROFL SOOOOOO true! This brings back so many memories. Back in university days, going to a Hindi film was always a problem because it was impossible to get into the toilet during the interval. I'd usually wait till a song came up onscreen to sneak out! Thank goodness, public loos are free in US/Canada.

abhishek said...

Very explicit detailing I will say...

Why did you feel the need to hold the stem of your glass in your mouth again?? I used to think glasses can be worn around your ears...all the time unless of course there's only one stem left. :P

yes , the relief is awesome...some compared it to a really long orgasm.

parotechnics said...

Levity about levitation - one of the women we interviewed during the film called this position the Crouching Tiger, which I thought was a glamorous name for an ignominious posture

dipali said...

All so true! You could have been describing my trip to the railway station loo a few months ago!
My glasses stay on my nose though:)

blue sunride said...

some day i will get over my phobia of public toilets and the yucky mucky water that adorns the floors and the brown walls and the black crevices in the walls and then I will share your agony!

Banno said...

dustedoff, where would one be without kind strangers?

Kaevan, :)

Space Bar, oh no! Luckily, I spent most of my pregnancy in safe precints, as you know.

Grasshopper, :)

memsaab, in time, several times.

anja, hmm, ventriloquism skills!?

bollyviewer, thank goodness one watches films at multiplexes now.

abhishek, oversized glasses that tend to fall off the nose in the aforementioned positions :)

parotechnics, tiger crouching not to leap at prey, but crouching in submission?

dipali, :)

blue sunride, some times, no choice.

anil said...

Thats so funny....I am dying to see this type of a scene in a movie if you can manage to find an actress to bring out the comedy you have brought out in your words.

Banno said...

Anil, I am trying to convince my dear actress friend Pu to perform this in a dance ballet. On stage!

Ashley said...

I had a very similar experience of urgency at the Jai Singh Observatory in Jaipur.... Only, there were no stall doors, just three holes in a large room. Thankfully, the saree-clad, modest aunties in line with me ushered me in alone as none of them wanted to see me partially undressed (I wore blue jeans and a short kurti/tunic this particular day).

Banno said...

Ashley, bad choice!

That is why women wear sarees, you see. Or long skirts. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow - that hit close to home! Just returned from a visit to desh, and performed several such calisthenics! I've had to teach my american-born daughter how to hover over public western toilets - not looking forward to explaining the "crouching tiger" (fantastic name BTW) position.

M