A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on a “Tour to South India”. My wife doesn’t trust my driving skill, so we were traveling by train and taxi and bus.
This journey was from Kasargode to Mysore by bus. Delayed by rain and diversions, the driver came close to breaking Andy’s Green land speed record. This he did by sacrificing the customary toilet breaks. A couple of check-post halts inspired the men to step out and spray the shrubbery. There were about nine women, on the bus, including a nun travelling unescorted. They stayed put.
A long night on an air-conditioned bus doesn’t do the bladder any favours. And that old hat about women’s bladders being tougher than men’s is pure bunk, or atleast I have experienced it. As it happened, my wife held on bravely all night.
At dawn, when she could bear it no more, she asked me to tell the driver to stop. He mumbled something in Malaya or Kannada, I imagined was an affirmative. Having nodded off, I woke to see the outskirts of Mysore in a blur of winking lights. My wife’s gentle nudging had turned into a painful prodding in my ribs. I reminded the driver of his promise but he said nothing doing, there would be no more stops until Mysore City. I returned and sheepishly reported this to my wife who, without blinking, threatened to divorce me.
“Bass Ghar ke Sher ho!” Mollified, I shuffled up to the driver, gripped his bony shoulder and shook him until he pulled up beside a highway restaurant that had not opened for business. We slipped through the broken gate but the loo was shut.
Locked! To my horror.
Shielding my wife from prying eyes I urged her, guilty shame gnawing at my heart, to do the needful, as we heard irate voices from the bus.
Biology had overcome the nun, who was screeching ecclesiastical invective at the driver. Presently, every woman on the bus stepped out to relieve herself. Where? Heaven knows! But they did. When they returned, they all smiled gratefully at my wife.
It wasn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that I have stood guard for a female fellow traveller in need of relief. Women travelling in groups look out for each other, but those who travel alone by road have told me they resort to incontinence pads to avoid risking their safety. After all, buses with onboard loos are still something of a novelty in our country, and certainly not affordable to all citizens with bladders.
The loo has become an electoral plankand, in this nation that places cow urine above the human need to make a nuisance, the stuff has hit the fan. Credit goes to Modi.
What six years of driving on the different roads taught me about being an early bird,
In India the bum rises before the sun.
Those who have taken an early morning Mumbai local, leaning out over the tracks fighting off the city’s morning breath, or people who loves a ride before dawn in his car on any highway of India know what I’m talking about.
It may be an embarrassment for most of us, but our propensity for open defecation holds a certain kind of tourist in thrall.
Varanasi, to most western tourists, cements the idea of India they come seeking. A Bavarian importer I did business recently sang its praises. “Yeah, it’s dirty,” he told me. “But that’s what I find incredible.”
A ^Chinese tourist made stink waves for depicting a dismayingly picture of India’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Besides painting Varanasi as a necropolis of half-decayed human and animal corpses, the photographer did not turn his camera away from the minefields of human faeces, available freely to be caught by foreigner’s camera between Rajghat to Assi Ghat. Bhayensasur Ghat has a special gallery to exihibit bifferent shapes and colors of human “CHHI” for we, the Indians, don’t disappoint camera holding European, Japanese & Korean, who love natural art to capture like that near-sighted comic character Chinese did.
Is that what Incredible India is about? A showcase of shit? The Chinese wrote.
My immideate reaction was, “they do it on community face.” *Now, you know why did I put that image above.
(A Must Read for every Indian)-
^CHINESE WROTE: INDIA Makes You Vomit. Its hurt me a lot.