Ok I’ve spent quite a few (>1) blog posts after coming here on input so let me write one on output. In fact for a long time I’ve intended to write a post on loos in India but have never got the time. Hopefully I’ll sit down to write it some day. Today, you’ll have to make do with American shyte.
The last time I found facilities in a loo for washing the arse (or thoLyin the thika) was at the Dubai airport on my way here where there was a health faucet. As has been well documented Islamic cultures place a lot of emphasis of keeping the arse clean and hence the ubiquity of this contraption in all Islamic countries (and of late in India also). As has also been well documented, western cultures prefer to keep the loos clean and hence use paper to wipe the arse after the process.
In my serviced apartment I’ve been doing one of the usual Indian things – I’ve kept a drinking glass in the bathroom and use it as a mug. Yeah its volume is quite low but that’s the best I can manage. Thankfully the taps aren’t too far away so I can manage. My biggest fear, however, is that I’ll drop this glass in the bathroom and might injure my feet. Office, however, offers no such luxuries so I’ve to make do with paper. When in Amreeka, do your ass like the Amreekans do.
My apartment and my office have two contrasting flushing systems, both of which seem superior to the system we have in India (the flush in my apartment in Bangalore is especially inefficient, especially when I download large volumes). At home, water starts swirling around in the WC as soon as I pull the trigger, slowly and steadily. Soon the pace picks up and the water level starts going down, pulling the crap along with it. And in a few seconds the pot is clean, and new water comes in so the level of water in the pot is restored. Actually I’ve noticed that the normal level of water in the pot in my apartment is much higher than it normally is in western loos. I think it’s similar to a football defence playing with a high offside line!
Office is a new building so has even more sophisticated loo. First of all the flush is automated – as soon as you get up and start buttoning up your pants the thing goes, though there’s a button which you can push in case the automatic thing fails. This is the first time ever that I’ve seen automatic flush in a pottystation. I’d earlier seen it only in urinals.
So the flush operates with a vacuum mechanism, much like the flushes on flights. So some pump gets into operation and sucks in all the shit and the paper and everything else in one smooth motion. And then there is a water jet to clean up any remnants, and that gets sucked in too. Finally, there is some fresh water ready to take shit.
The best thing I’ve found about my office loo, however, is the seat paper. So in this special compartment in the potty station you get paper that’s shaped in the plan of the commode (plan as in top view; I hope you can picturize). So when you go in, you pull out one such paper and put it on to the seat, and then take your seat and do your business. And once business is done, send this paper also packing into the WC!
Excellent idea, I think, because the biggest crib that people have about commodes is that they have to rest bare arse on the same space that hosted some other bare arse and this may not be healthy. Providing this facility allows you to take insurance about that, and you need not put your ass-to-risk*. I hope this starts getting implemented soon enough in India also, especially in public facilities.
1. Vikram Doctor’s excellent take on toilets
2. One earlier time when I had blogged about toilets at work
3. An earlier post of mine, on washing your arse in the Thames
4. A post on loos and sacred threads. One of those one-liner posts I stopped posting after I started tweeting. This post would become significant later in my life in a most unusual manner