Respect the Commode!

To maintain decorum of this blog, the word ‘Politicians’ will be used in place of certain unwanted solids and liquids that leave a human body at regular intervals.

I am not a cleanliness freak. It takes meticulous, vigilant planning spanning months for me to get up and wipe dust off my laptop screen which looks as if it has been hit by a desert storm and I might unearth a camel’s carcass while cleaning it. So, I am fine with a bit of inherent laziness that seeps into my countrymen which vanishes with a sudden urge to jump on an empty seat in a bus as if it is a dead deer amidst gluttonous tigers. But I do not understand men who enter a washroom and let loose politicians anywhere other than the precise location they are supposed to go. And, no, I am not talking about men using the roadside facilities which resemble a concentration camp but men using sparkling clean washrooms in swanky high-rise offices.

While I was in Manchester for two years, I had to take precautions that no one noticed me going in and coming out of the washroom. I was not scared but ashamed. As my office was filled with fellow countrymen from various companies, the washrooms were filled with embarrassing notices like this –

“Please leave the toilet in a condition suitable for use by the next person”

The darned notice appeared on every door inside the washroom and stared at me every time I visited the best invention in the history of humans – The Loo.

Being in India, I was used to the indifference with which the wall loving Indian men treat the sophisticated commode. Yes, I have flushed the poor thing before he could cry his heart out on seeing his savior in me. Yes, I have picked up tissue and cleaned its rim, relieving it of the political remains of the sinner who has made unholy this greatest creation of mankind. If it was left to me, I would have worshipped a commode, shuddering with fear thinking of a life bereft of its company. Unfortunately, my fellow countrymen do not share my sentiments and molest the commode at every possible opportunity.

What really shocked the Bejesus out of me was that my countrymen carried their passions to foreign lands. They gave the British a taste of how alarmingly misguided their aims could be and the sparkling commodes of the developed nation could not believe their bad luck. Some of them went into a deep uncontrollable coma and refused to flush the politicians out, which lead to the icy notice on the doors. If commodes had legs, we would have witness thousands of them running and jumping off the island.

Mind you, these passionate countrymen were software engineers who would have shamed Gagan Narang in hitting the targets in their own homes in the fear of Ma breaking their necks. They were not rickshaw pullers, who have never seen a commode and might take it for a mini well. Still, they could not treat the foreign commodes with respect just because they were not a part of their families. Leaving aside the abused ones in India, the men left an irreplaceable scar on the minds of the commodes at onsite. Alas! There was no hope to reverse the damage. No psychiatrist deals with depressed commodes.  

Why this apathy?

Why this indifference towards picking up a tissue and cleaning the results of your own aiming misadventures?

Why this coldness towards flushing, checking and flushing again?

Why this deep-rooted mindset that someone will do it for you?

Yes, we could be filthy and education has nothing to do with it, the same way education has nothing to do with female feticide and dowry deaths, the same way education has nothing to do with spitting on roads and jumping signals.

So, while I clean another commode, wiping its tears and promising it better times, I think about the men that would use it in the future without concern and sympathy and wonder when men would begin to acknowledge its importance and marvel at our best creation. There aren’t many things in life that are so pure and selfless, who can smile all the way while taking our shit. Where would we be if all the commodes muster a revolt? Do we have the stamina to dig the soil to bury politicians like the medieval armies did during wars? And what if you work on the 10th floor?

When would we understand that there cannot be a better friend?

When would we hug a commode for being there for us when the need of relieving the politicians was colossal?

When would we truly and genuinely come to love and respect the commode?

[image from here]

84 comments on “Respect the Commode!

  1. First let me laugh…Amit, horrible!!! But I know, that’s the fact. Thank god, I have never seen such notices in the women’s room and moreover, all the places I worked so far were filled with ‘gore’ log. While I was reading the post, I could hear hubby’s voice subconsciously as he yells and keeps training my son, “take a tissue, wipe it out..Then flush it, then wash your hands”. The reel goes on. I think moms should make their ladles wash their rest rooms right from the day they start potty training.ugh!! My son after his last India trip, would crib, amma all the bathrooms in India are so wet wet…well, that’s the way it is, beta!!

    • The first year was fine when the Indian community had a small presence. There was a marked change in my office when Indians started arriving in hoards. There were even notices on microwaves on my floor about not putting foils inside it. Someone apparently did that and there was a lot of smoke followed by a firebrigade.
      Indian parents have to go a long way to potty train themselves before trying it on their children. I know of an instance where a woman asked her daughter to pee in the car parking of a mall just because she was not in a mood to take her to the toilet. Beat that!

      • OMG!! She should have done it in her car rather!! You know what I did when my son was little? I used to carry empty water bottles with me in the car. Because he suddenly would say, amma pee pee and how do I get a rr on the highway, middle of no where?

    • Thanks Akanksha. Yes, I was not having a very rosy picture about women’s washroom either. Going by the comments, I believe they are equally painful.

  2. I totally agree to your sentiments & I too have seen such notices pasted on the insides of all washroom doors.
    I guess some people mind their own business to an extreme extent (only in the loos nowhere outside it) that they fail to notice the signs and even the mess they have made unless caught and punished 😦

    • I think some people take it on their ego. No one can tell them what to do and hence the extreme reaction. They would not dare to do that in their own house because they know that the cleaning is their responsibility too.
      And if humans have to be punished for not flushing, I believe we are going back to the stage from where we evolved – Monkeys.

  3. I shudder to use public toilets in India. I genuinely prefer Indian toilets in public places. Ugh, the miseries I’ve witnessed. Train and airplane toilets are the worst. Sometimes, the obnoxious smell that lingers can put a person in an instant coma. Once, a lady was happily passing gas errr.. politicians inside a rest room. It was so funny that I started giggling loudly. Other women also started laughing. You should have seen her face when she came out :).

    • Me too. I rarely use them unless I would like to have recurring nightmares.
      Oh, I am fine with men passing gases. A lot of men do that in the washrooms. They gleefully sing too while doing so. Its a source of entertainment in the otherwise sad place.

  4. thankfully, i don’t have to use public toilet too often. it’s really annoying to clean the carnage created by the savages.

    by the way, even i don’t clean my laptop screen. it looks like a remain of mohenjo dao and harappa

    • Well, that is great. I have to use it in office and sometimes the state is agonising.
      Hahaha! I still get scoldings from dad for my laptop. I tell him that as long as I can see what’s written on the screen, I am fine. 🙂

  5. Hahah… Let me catch my breath for a moment.. This one is too much … I don’t know what to tell… What a satirical post.. Not only the public ones but also the ones in malls, theaters, hospitals, railway stations etc…. And by the way I too don’t clean my PC ji 😀 😀

    • Thanks Harikishna. 🙂
      Oh yes, everywhere. I don’t remember when have I seen a clean toilet. Maybe in a 5 star hotel but that is because their staff is vigilant and not because people there are more educated and rich.

  6. oh yea!! Office washrooms told horror stories! I don’t understand how or why educated, working women can’t flush!!
    I thought that it was just back home, but I have noticed phoreners also walking out of a stall without flushing and without a backward glance

    • Yes, some can’t and they give a bad name to everyone. It is especially embarrasing when you are out of India.
      Have you? Now that is something I have never witnessed.

      • That’s true even some Foreigners are not that great in toilet manners. My Jeeju who works in an MNC with just 2 other Indian colleagues and rest all Europeans and Americans, always complains, how difficult it is to use the Loo after an European/American has used it.

  7. Bhai, be grateful you never will get into a women’s loo…especially in India..its DISGUSTING!

    There are only two things clean in my house 1.loos 2. kitchen..everything else can remain dirty..

    One of the reasons why I am reluctant to go on road trips with RD is because of the condition of the loos..and add to that a four year old brat who seems to have the same necessity as mine..clean loos…its even worse..All through the trip to Goa she refused to use any public loos…I got so scared…that I actually made RD stop on the road and forced her to pee 😦

    I so wish we had good public loos..

    • Hahaha! Yeah I got that much after seeing all the comments. It seems I have touched an open wound. 🙂
      They have opened new public toilets in Delhi at a lot of places. I still have to use them but it is not a very encouraging thought.

  8. Typical Indian mentality of keeping your own house clean and dumping the garbage into the neighbour’s lawn. Did that make sense?

    If commodes had legs, we would have witness thousands of them running and jumping off the island.
    You have some imagination! 😛 I actually visualised that!! :mgreen:

    • Yes, thats it. I also believe that cleaners also do not do a good job at times. Sometimes the toilets are never cleaned. Hence the stench.
      Thanks Ash. At least we can make them run in our imagination. The reality is very grim for them. 🙂

  9. Trust me, women’s loos are no better! 😦

    Education has got nothing to do with it. It is all about breeding, exposure and awareness.

    Wonderfully written post. Sarcastic to the core, but sad too, truly reflective of our wonderful Indian mentality.

    I have had such thoughts many times too – the notices inside toilets disgust me. Why do we even need such notices? Are we so pathetic that we need such reminders? Isn’t keeping the toilet neat something we should do on our own? Why?

    • I think its about how you are bought up. If parents have been doing this all their life, they are not going to teach their children any better. Half of the Indians make their children sit on roads (not referening to the critical situation of R’s Mom 🙂 ) and pass politicians without giving a second thought.
      I think it might be because we are used to people doing work for us. Someone will clean it – that is the mindset.

  10. Very true!!! i completely agree… same is the condition in ladies washrooms as well…
    btw, u missed ur rule of using word ‘politician’ in last para… 😉

  11. Wow!! ‘Politicians’ should be flushed out and wiped off from the face of the earth.. err.. commode!! But some Indians just don’t do this. Something which needs to be done with minimum common sense is not done even when a notice is stuck on their face. If only self flushing toilets were installed in Indian public toilets.
    And Taiwan’s minister has come out with the solution 🙂

    • I think notices don’t work with Indians. A notice hurts our ego and propels us into doing exactly what is forbidden.
      I think the Taiwan minister is smart. That will save us a lot of missed aims. 🙂

  12. Yes.. I once attended a wedding in a school in India.. and unfortunately tried my luck with ladies loo there. It was beyond the stuff of nightmares. There were politicians of the BAD kind in every ‘cubicle’, just lying around. Even as I stood there, a woman was encouraging her little girls to ‘just go’ at a random spot outside ad the cubicles were so dirty. I literally ran out of there!

    I wonder if this attitude is a hangover from the days when some of us believed that other humans were born for the very purpose of taking care of our politicians.

    • I have come to know of an incident where a woman encouraged her girl to pass politicians in a basement car parking of a mall. I have also witnessed a used diaper inside Taj Mahal.
      I think it is the way our society is structured. We always have people to do work for us. A guy comes to clean our car, a maid comes to wash and clean our house, someone irons our clothes. There is hardly anything we do on our own. So why this?

  13. It is hilarious but at the same time so true. The public toilets are abused beyond the point of use here and with same halaat of women loos. I keep telling my son to fllow the rules and when he visits one such toilet, he scrunches his nose and looks at me inquisitively. I tell him, “Beta, their parents forgot to tell them how aiming at the right place is so important in life.”

    • Hahaha! But then when we grow up and get the rights to elect our Prime Minister, should we not have at least the ability to aim by then? I think there should be a practical test for this to get your voter ID card. A man who cannot aim cannot select a PM. Maybe that is why we are in such a mess. 🙂

  14. Oh so true! When will people start respecting washrooms like they respect the temples or puja ghar of their houses? (Sorry for this simili!) My office is even stranger in this respect. A lot of men use the ladies washroom as they find it cleaner than the male washrooms! Can you beat this?

    • If that happens, that would be the beginning of a golden era of this country.
      *A lot of men use the ladies washroom*
      Not able to pick my jaw from the ground. They are not supposed to do that! No one complains?

        • Maybe they need a ‘Kambal Kutai’. For that a few women have to wait in the washroom with a blanket. The moment a man enters, put the blanket over him and then make him fall on the ground. Then slaps and punches should fall on him like heavy rain. After he faints, take the blanket and leave. You will never find him again in the ladies washroom.

  15. One reason could be being so used to having someone do the cleaning for us 😦 Amit, are you sure that ‘politician’ sounds more decorous than “certain unwanted solids and liquids that leave a human body at regular intervals” 🙂

    • Yes, exactly. That is what I think too. We are used to other people doing our work.
      Err…Ahem….I think you are right. I should not have done that. 🙂

  16. Don’t remember the last time I started your post and didn’t complete it, and it is not because I was imagining a commode. Anyway, from what I gather, the aiming method is bad, and as they say, the “system must be changed”. Probably we should have loos with a 10cm wide hole to target against a slope which would bring down the misfired politicians to the user’s feet.

    • Hahaha! Was it so bad? I even replaced words. 🙂
      I think there should be an automatic hand that should hold and slap the occupant if he fails to flush. The person should be beaten up till he/she presses the button. That will brilliantly work.

  17. I can only tell you horror stories about the condition of the women’s loo in my previous workplace. This was despite the fact that the loos were cleaned several times a day. But I will spare you the gory details. Unfortunately, I was not spared because not only did I witness said horrors personally, I also once spent 15 minutes listening to the woes of one maintenance staff lady I had smiled at.

    Disgusting post. But very much needed.

    • Here at my workplace too, the toilets are cleaned regularly but still some people don’t like cleanliness. I know that putting notices don’t work either.
      Thanks suthewriter for finding the post disgusting. 🙂

  18. Believe me Women toilets are more torturing.We cannot even manage to ignore the wet as we have sit on the seat.

    I carry tissue paper along with me to public toilets .Sometimes I have forgotten So it is a dreaded situation.Women always sit atop the commode doing some acrobatics breaking the seat cover .
    No one wants to even touch the flush.In india it is next persons job…

    Most amazingly I found toilets in Nagaland and Manipur super clean…

    • You really need to clean the rim of the commode because women have more chances of getting urinary infection because of this. It is a painful experience, so better safe than sorry.

  19. The ICC(International Commode Community) expresses their heartfelt gratitude for speaking out on their behalf. They are aware that their brethren on Indian soils are subjected to a treatment much stinkier than theirs. A conference will be held in Cancun, and you are invited to flush your findings…..

    • I am planning to represent India there. I have the invite, hence this awareness post. I need to collect some brownie points. 😉 I am going to propose FGP (Flush or Get Punched) commodes there.

  20. I am with you on the SPCC (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Commodes). I remember, in one of the office complexes where I worked, to avoid people relieving themselves in the staircase landing corners, and also the streaks of paan spit, some bright spark embedded tiles with God pictures. And what happened? The *^%$ guys simply aimed at the space in between the pictures. i would imagine the Gods wrinkling their noses and wished they would aim their spears or tridents or whatever at the offenders. Hmm. Now – the roadside walls also have strategically placed tiles of Gods which have been less than successful in preventing the trespassers from passing their bodily fluids and excreta.

    Pleased to meet you, Amit! (Thanks to Rachna for leading me here!)

    • Thanks Vidya. The commodes are brimming with gratitude.
      Well, we have been throwing politicians on Gods and their teaching since a long time, so taking it to such a level does not come as a surprise to me. I have always maintained that humans are the living example that even Gods make mistakes.
      Welcome here Vidya. 🙂

  21. Oh no Amit, the ladies wash rooms are much much much worse than what you mentioned about the men’s loos. Educated or not, people just don’t care about others, as long as their “job” is done. The worst part is when you find the floor all wet–you don’t know whether is water or “whatever”!!! I can’t imagine how people would “forget” to flush after they finish their business. Let me not say anything further, so that I don’t go without food today :-).

    A good post from you as usual.

    • Haha! 🙂 It seems you are equally distressed. Wet floors are a part of men’s loos as well.
      It is so great to exchange notes on loos on my blog. I am getting insight into places I will never go to in reality. 😛

  22. The toilets in my hospital have this on the door (inside):
    Turn back!
    You haven’t flushed!” followed by a funny guy who looks like a cross between .. err. let me now say it.

    It is kind of sad that there are notices in staff toilets. But I guess, reminders are needed, sadly.

    Sarcastic to the core. Loved reading it.
    I think it is shameful indifference though there maybe an occasional guy/girl who was so caught up with something that they forgot to read the notice.

  23. Ofcourse I laughed!!! But completely agree with th underlying message, Amit. We just do not respect anything thats not ‘ours’ – be it property, people or ideas…. well written

  24. Pingback: Atithi NOT Devo Bhava | Bhavia's Blog

  25. Something which I wanted to scream about for a long time. every time I go to loo,I used to wonder,the people who work here are not from slums.They are the so called software engineers but why do they use the loo as if they have servants to clean up for them?

    • They are educated and from well-to-do families, but leave slum dwellers behind when it comes to using public utilities.
      And absolutely! They are the masters of Earth and everyone else is their servant. I believe that a person who cannot clean up his own politician is one big loser.

  26. Loos, did you say? What are those? I thought we had the sidewalks and the walls of public buildings and monuments to take care of ‘politicians’. I could empathise with you slinking in and out of the toilets in your office abroad. To call it a shame is an understatement.

    • It was a shame all right. And that was not the only reason. I need to write a post elaborating the embarrassing moments I went through when I was there.

  27. I wonder why Indian commodes for men need to have such wide “mouths” anyway. Since we are so bad with our aim, we should really be peeing into tubes with narrow openings.
    (Though, I think this will cause huge issues if one had to poop. Hey, I never claimed to be Einstein with all the answers!)

    • When a man is used to peeing on a wall, giving him a tube is a very bad idea I think. I think diapers will be a better idea although disposing it will be a problem again. Sigh! what a mess.

  28. If public restrooms are worse, the office ones are the worst. There is always someone who forgets to flush and a colourful assortment of politicians greet you when you open the door 😦

    Even though the malls have timely cleaners coming in and doing their job, to my bad luck, I have seen waiting-to-be flushed commodes. When will this basic sense of cleanliness seep into everyones heads.

    • The one in my office is at least better than a public restroom but that is only because it is cleaned very frequently every hour. Even then people manage to dirty it which I think is an achievement. 😦

  29. Why this apathy you ask?
    Because when Jairam Ramesh says “we needs toilets for women more than we need temples” the BJP creates ruckus.
    For once Bhanot was right. We have different hygiene standards.
    This is such an apt post. Sadly those who will read this are not the ones who need to read this.

    • BJP is another demon waiting to be unleashed if they win the next election. We really need a new sensible party or this nation is doomed.
      I agree. Most of our posts which talk about issues are read by people who really do not need any lessons.

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