Friday, September 22, 2017

My experience with Indian toilets

Last four days, I spent a few hours a day tending to the garden doing weeding, pruning, mowing etc. in the process I did not go for my usual walks. Today, I went for my usual 30 minute morning walk and it was not that easy. The imagined benefits of reduction in smoking are not apparent. But I did manage to finish the walk rather slowly without a break. The prospect of the Indian trip is beginning to look more daunting. I have been planning to spend time in small places visiting villages and possibly without western type toilets, generally avoiding the affluent and the elite. May be old age is irreversible.
P.S. From 2008.
This episode and "He'd had to keep getting up to go to the restroom" reminded me a recent trip of mine inside India. I wanted to travel from Hyderabad to Vijayawada by bus; it was a trip that I used to make about twice year when I lived in Bombay enjoying Andhra pachadis along the way. I booked at a local RTC outlet and was told that it was a nice air-conditioned bus and would take only six and half hours with a couple of stops. My cousin in Vijayawada told me that after the main stop in Vijayawada, it would travel along Eluru road and if I requested, they would stop at a place ten minutes from his house. I should be there by 6:30 PM and he would be waiting at the bus stop.
When I got in to the bus in Hyderabad, they said it would be more like seven and half to eight hours. The bus stopped at several places in Hyderabad to take passengers and took two hours to get out of the city. I was already feeling the ned to visit a restroom (not unusual when one is nearly 67) but the next regular stop came after 2-3 hours. When I got down there was no regular restroom I could see and many including some women were using the open space with a few bushes. I could not see myself holding my own in that surroundings and tried a squatting position which I had not used for several years. The bones must have got stiff because of old age and I kept falling back. Finally with the help of one hand on the ground behind me, I finished the job and got back to the bus. At that stop or next stop we were delayed for half an hour because some passenger went for a drink and came late staggering. Finally when we reached the outskirts of Vijaayawada, there were traffic jams. We were told that there was a big bandh and they would try to get us to the main bus stop some how or other. It was time to enquire about my cousin's bus stop but the driver told me that he was from Telangana and did not know the local stops. After another hour so, the driver said that we wold not be able to reach the main bus stop that day and would leave us at the City Bus stop. By this time it was about 9 PM. I decided to stay in a hotel for the night and was told that the hotels were full because of the bandh. I was resigning myself to staying in the bus stop for the night (which had restrooms). Luckily an auto driver said that even though he could not drive me to my cousin's place because of the bandh crowd, he could take me around in the neighbourhood to look for a hotel room. Finally I found a hotel room by about 10 PM and phoned my cousin on my first borrowed cell phone and found that he was still waiting at his bus stop. Thanks to another cell phone, his wife sent him the message and I met him the next morning. I came back to Hyderabad by train but that is another story. 

From a comment in Small world

1 comment:

Bhast said...

Great post. I like it, thanks for sharing..
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