07.02.2008 - 07.02.2008
If you can't talk about poo, you should just close this internet browser right now. This post isn't for you!
Two very kind people informed me about why it is considered rude to eat with your left hand in some countries. It is because being that toilet paper is a relatively new idea, the left hand was usually used to wipe yourself after you poo. Even though you washed it after, it was always considered unclean and in some places is still a big taboo to eat with your left hand.
Lucky for me, Bangalore is very Westernized and a lot of people do not care because let me tell you, it is hard to break apart bread with only one hand. Try it sometime and see what I mean. I will say though that since I've been here, I've been trying to stick to the right hand only when eating just in case.
But let's continue this discussion around poo...
This is what all the Indian toilets I have used look like:
Notice a few things:
1. There is no tank. So if gravity isn't used to help flush then they have to be using a pressure system of some sort, which leads me to the next item...
2. There are no low-flow toilets in India. You better make sure you are 5 feet away or you might be sucked in. Ear plugs are recommended too.
3. America could learn a lot about toilet stalls from India. At our company office in Bangalore, the women's restrooms have three stalls in them. But it's like each stall is it's own room! It's GREAT! Complete privacy from other people in the restroom. This must be because of the modesty of the women here. Maybe I can find out from my friend who is here for 6 months about the men's restroom. I think that if America took a page from Indian public toilets there would be fewer women who are constipated and refuse to poo outside their homes.
4. You know how in American public restrooms we have mega-sized toilet-paper dispensers? The kind that hold 12 rolls at a time? I'm lucky if I find one roll of toilet paper in a stall here. And it's definately not Charmin. A good reason to always carry a spare, travel-size roll of toilet paper with you in India. I brought two!
5. And lastly, you've probably noticed this in the picture and wondered why I haven't said anything. You see that spray nozzle in the corner? These are also in every restroom I've been in here. It's for those who still choose not to use toilet paper and prefer to clean themselves with water.
It's been proven that this method of cleaning oneself is cleaner. I understand that. But I have two major objections to using this in a public setting; first, I can only imagine the coordination involved to spray in the right direction and keep your clothes from getting wet. I lack this coordination so I don't even try. Secondly, can you imagine the germs? Let me state that I'm not a germophobe. I use public restrooms and touch door handles and don't lay toilet paper on the seat unless absolutely necessary. But I do have an ick! factor at the thought of touching that spray nozzle. So I don't. That's one India experience that I think I can pass on.