Friday, November 14, 2014

To Pee Or Not To Pee

With the Swatch Bharat Abhyaan going about in full swing, every now and then some or the other celebrity is spotted on the page 3 with the long handled broom. Since our magnificent PM is driving this initiative, just like him this move has a lot of charismatic coverage on both press and print. The huge hoardings, the informative advertisements on television and in movie theaters is surely going to bring about atleast some amount of necessary change. But still the average Indian mentality remains to keep the home spic and span but to do hell with the roads, public transport, washrooms, historic monuments, gardens etc. We all have witnessed peanut shells on the train floors, banana peels on footpaths, heaps of garbage on roadsides, un flushed littered public restrooms, X loves Y inscribed on the walls of historic monuments. Visit Qutub Minar and you will be a witness to half of love stories of Delhi and the small caves on sides will smell like piss. Don’t know what they were used for earlier but visitors have probably found a good sneaky place to pee in them.

Photo Courtesy -
And let’s not get into the part of how our men attend the call of nature wherever they find place. Walls, bushes, highways just about anywhere. Moving traffic, dogs, cows, women nothing intimidates them. It is us women who are taught from childhood to control and be mature about everything, including the call of nature. Usually there are no public washrooms so on long distance travels you have to entirely rely on petrol pumps and roadside dhabbas or some really heavy bushy areas. I say this with experience, once on a road trip from Jammu to Delhi I was under siege of a severe bout of stomach infection. So the journey was prolonged by slow driving to spot prospective restaurants and havelis (Haveli is a popular chain of highway joints at Jalander, Karnal and Ambala. Designed and styled as to drown in Punjabi culture, they are a must visit for both intake and outtake) for me. Even if you are lucky to spot a surlabh shrochalay the smell flowing within the radius of 2 foot will make you forget the pressure you were experiencing and you will decide that teaching your bladder/intestines the art of control is probably a better idea.
Photo Courtesy -
Let’s face it, we all have at one point or the other littered the roads, wrote on rupee notes, spat indecently. I have on many occasions done the same (except the spit part). But off late I try my best to store any trash in my bag and throw it only when I spot a dustbin. However I do have a bone to pick up with people who dirty the place around them for no apparent reason. Don’t flush after using the restroom. I would be mortified to leave a restroom dirty, knowing that someone is bound to use it just after me. And mind you, this is done by Zara wearing Esbeda carrying ladies and they show no sign of remorse even when you give them a look which says ~ you are disgusting. Then there is my roommate well educated and arrogant. After shower she leaves a bunch of hair in the drain which I absolutely loathe. But this time I though instread of using the usual direct confrontation I will try something different. So I removed the hair every time thinking that she will get the hint. She chose to ignore my good gesture and continued to dirty the washroom. She is leaving soon and I am not keeping my fingers crossed for any last minute miracles. If you ask me, her post graduate degree, the supposed hi-profile job or the branded clothes all go to vain when you don’t have the basic civic sense. It just makes you uneducated and crass. At least in my eyes.

Tata Consultancy Services, the IT giant has pledged Rs 100 crore on toilets for girls across schools in India as a part of PMs Clean India Initiative. Here’s hoping for more public (and cleaner) washrooms. As much as I miss shopping in local markets I am also thankful for malls and the restrooms in it. Without them shopping for long durations used to be nightmare. Not long ago the trio, popularly known as the gossip girls went hobnobbing in the SoBo. After a (very) hearty lunch, drinks and way too many caramel custards at the parsi café we set off to Crawford Market. The office friend previously mentioned here and here was accompanying and wanted to buy utensils. Someone had told her that apparently the utensils sold here are of best quality and cheap. So off we went utensil shopping.

Entering Crawford market we spot myriad of stuffs – belts, shoes, fruits, showpieces, bags, toys but not a single utensil in sight. This is June and monsoon is delayed so we are just aimlessly waking in the scorching sun. After few inquires a kind man tells us that the shop is near a distant tree. That tree is so far and the heat has affected my brain so hard that I find it difficult to judge whether it’s real or a mirage. Amidst the walk and shouting abuses at the utensil-lover-friend all of us feel the need to pee. Now this is old Mumbai we are in and there is no restaurant or café or restroom in site. The bisleri's we have been drinking to beat the heat aren't helping either. Plus the tree does not seem to get any nearer. We do spot a dhabba but the conservative looking men in there do not seem too thrilled with us, dressed in all fashionable finery. So we contemplate going to some house and requesting them to let us use their washroom but then decide against it. While walking we somehow stumble outside a temple and rejoice at the sight. We ask the watchman of the washroom status, he nods in agreement and we are like hallelujah!

We are let through some dark stairs into an alley with rooms full of saree clad women busy with their rosaries. The place is eerily quiet and little scary. Somehow we reach the restroom and lo and behold what do we spot! It’s more like an array of changing rooms. There is no drain, no hole but its smelly proving that it has been used before. Desperate and left with no other option we decide to go ahead and do the business. Even after scrubbing our feet with water and wet wipes we felt dirty. Just talking about it makes me wanna have a bath. After unsuccessfully trying to forget the dirty episode we finally made it to the tree and thank heavens the utensil shop. We also decide to forgive the utensil buying friend for making us walk 2km after she promises to feed us pomfret fry made on her newly bought aluminum tawa. Needless to say after that day she has never mentioned the pomfret fry. Ever.

We had a similar where-to-pee incident when on a trip to Alibaug and a trek to Bhimashakar. We had to find some heavy bushes and keep two girls out on watch for infiltrators. There is a reason girls avoid eating and drinking on long distance trips. Now you guys know how difficult it is for us girls. I am awaiting the day when we don’t have to fret about this and will have easy access to clean public restrooms. Till then we will drink less on outings, exercise bladder control and fully support & participate actively in Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan.

Photo Courtesy -
Jai Ho! 


P.S The title of this post has been “inspired” from SATC Season 3 Episode 2.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When are you getting married?

Is it just me or has the standard greeting changed from “hello, how are you?” to “When are you getting married”. I suddenly have a new found respect for Salman khan. With the entire nation going crazy over his marital status. And the sheer volume of marriage questions he is asked, I can imagine how he must feel. After a certain age people just automatically start excepting things from you.

The moment you pass your 10th standard people want to know the subject you elected for. Then after 12th they are keenly involved with you in the college selection process. For another three to four years they won’t give a damn about what you do (except for the result days). But as soon as you graduate they will be back, wanting to know about your plans for future. Further studies or job. If its job they will ask you whether or not you got it every time they see you, even if it is consecutive days. Once you do land a job, after a peaceful tenure of two to three years they will be back and this time with a more ulterior motive – Marriage.

You know you are in trouble when your Facebook page start highlighting your friends changing their relationship status from Single to Engaged on a regular basis. The time of your doom is not far away. In no time your parents will start to approach you for that special talk and required qualities. Before you even realize what’s happening there will be tons of prospective profiles thrown at you with the intent of you choosing them on the basis of overtly edited picture and highly technical (and bogus) qualifications. Then there are ever friendly and helping auntyji’s who will leave no stone unturned to find a perfect match for you. They will sit will chai-biscuit turn their entire family (and extended family) tree upside down and draw out atleast two to three ideal matches for you – with money, looks and property.

Things start to get scary when people apart from your parents, friends and the auntyji’s start taking interest in your marital status and when your friends start to post updates of their first kid. I am in that scary place right now. In the last few weeks people ranging from random colleagues to acquaintances to housekeeping people have asked me when I am getting married. When I refused to meet an old friend multiple times, he automatically assumed that I am engaged. It’s like wherever I go there’s going to be some or the other marriage talk. My office consoling friend, previously mentioned here does again nothing to sooth my nerves. In fact she tells me that in Maharashtrian society a girl of 25 has to marry a boy of 32 because a guy of 25, 26 will always want a girl of 22. In the IT sector where 24 year olds have pot bellies, image of a 32 year old with 5 month pregnant belly and male pattern baldness gives me creeps. Also she adds that when you marry at the right age, which is 24 you have proper time to enjoy for 2,3 years and then plan for a baby at 28 which again is the perfect age for the first baby. Then by 32 you would have the second baby and be absolutely free to “enjoy your life” by 35.

I was at this crossroads few years back as well and that too has resulted in a very frustrated blogpost. I can’t believe I am back there and this time with a situation graver than the last. What scares me more is that back then I could atleast imagine myself doing something ~ studying in a MBA college, working in some software company or helping my mother by washing utensils/clothes. But in this case I just can’t imagine myself married, living with a guy, cooking and cleaning his stuff. My imagination just stops at the wedding dress, shopping and jewellery after that it’s all just a dark black hole for me. This just indicates that I am mentally not ready for marriage. Being the youngest in my family for a long time, I was always dependent on my parents and sisters for all my critical life decisions. So somewhere down the line I just did not grow up, in my head I am still a little girl. I am still into hairbands and funky jewellery. Marriage therefore scares the shit out of me. I start getting panic attacks the moment anyone utters the M words. I am waiting for myself and my brain to make peace and take its time getting used to the idea of being married. I am ok with this but I guess society is not. That can be the only reason for people going bonkers over my non-married status.

All this got me thinking to whether we marry because we are ready and want to or just because people expect as to. Do we marry for the society? Buckling under the pressure? Because after a certain age it just seems normal to get hitched and avoid questions or raised eyebrows? Do we just settle down to avoid being alone at gatherings and weddings? To present that picture perfect image of ours to people…however blurred or distorted that image maybe from inside. I for one feel that marriage has been given way too much importance in our society. Let people be, they will get married when they want to. And that’s not all, even when people do get married the very next thing people expect from them is the inevitable “good news”. So overall it is just a vicious circle.

My future plan does include marriage but I don’t want my life to revolve around it. There is just so much I still have not done. I know I sound like a wistful teenager but it is the truth. There are so many things to be done, horizons to be reached, places to go, canvases to be painted, shoes to be bought, book to be written, revenges to be plotted, experiments to be done, get drunk and what not. Lots of what nots.

Heres raising a toast to not getting married.

Pssssst ... This is a picture free post, the absence is attributed to laziness.