Society & Lifestyle
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|by Devavratan Kaundinya|
We have been constantly reading about ‘Toilet Humor’ in movies; but we never hear of anything on the ‘Toilet Horrors’. If one wants to experience it they have to make a trip to the Chennai Mega Music Season in December every year and how our so culturally superior, intellectually enlightened, NRIs and RIs (Resident Indians), NRCs (Non Resident Chennaiites) put up with the horrendous toilet facilities provided by the Sabhas and Venues which conduct nonstop musical programmes and morning till night food festivities in their venues.
Ahem, in India we always give ‘least’ preference to ‘toilets’ because those are places where we ‘spent fewer hours’ than in other places like bedroom, kitchen and dining and visitors hall. But, can we dispense with them since they serve our purpose only for a few minutes? Perhaps; we would instantly quote our ‘good (g)olden’ days when we used to go along the river side or pond side to relieve ourselves. I think that culture still continues in many of our cities as well as villages. The difference in cities it is sidewalls of temples, compound walls of houses, blind street corners, why name, any place which is convenient. We feel there are better things to concentrate and construct than to have a toilets and maintain them! Very queer argument.
Coming back to the December jamboree and toilet facilities, a person who had been attending these marathon concerts in Chennai for the past more than one decade, I am really at a loss to know why such pathetic and dirty treatment is given to toilets in the public venues and their maintenance. Is it because we consider it a place dispatching the dirt?
I always find and it has been clearly established that those who attend these music concerts are invariably senior citizens than junior prodigies. These senior citizens will invariably suffer from diabetes or loose bladder or prostate enlargements which necessitate them to relieve themselves at least once in an hour. Do you think any of these venues have non-stinking, cleanly swept, hygienic toilets to use?
The worst part is some of these venues are schools and colleges. These toilets are, in fact, bigger horrors. I shudder to think that how those poor students put up with such unhealthy atmosphere after paying huge fees and maintenance charges without getting any basic facilities!
Recently, my friend’s kid after attending some multi-school cultural program in Island grounds came and said, ‘We cannot use the toilets because they are full of shit everywhere!’ My experience was similar when I had to attend a marriage reception in a big air-conditioned hall where one could feel the display of pomp and pageantry. But, the toilets were stinking beyond imagination and even a step cannot be taken inside. We prefer to conduct ‘cultural programmes’ in an ‘uncultured’ atmosphere. The prestigious research institute where I worked, houses a kindergarten school too. When I was asked to preside over some function once, I was terribly shocked to find the school with strength of about 200 children below the age of 8 had only one toilet! When I questioned the authorities, their reply was nothing but audacious. They claimed that they are interested only in improving the ‘intelligence’ of the kids than ‘look’ into such ‘trivial’ issues. None can beat this answer from a highly educated group of management!
The importance we give for ‘eating’ is not definitely extended to the ‘effluents’ come out of the ‘process’. No wonder our Indian industries feel comfortable to pollute the environment with least provisions for effluent treatment and allow them in rivers and lands.
Less said the better about the trains and the testing experiences one has to face when travel long distances by bus.
No point in blaming; when the highly culture promotion groups themselves are least bothered about the basic needs of its patrons when it comes to the question of toilets, we can hardly make a complaint about other sections of this society.
To be precise, our ‘culture’ stinks through these ‘toilets!’
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