Smelly Nelly!!!

One of my pet peeves in India – seems like I have many these days – is the stinky, vile toilets that exude with the smells of urine and other kinds of bodily waste. My guess is that this post may put people off and so I apologize in advance. Unless you step into a 5 star hotel or a really classy restaurant, you can be assured that 96.75% of all the other toilets are unpleasant. I can’t even write this post with a straight face because it really infuriates me that, as Indians, we do not possess the civic sense and responsibility to keep our restrooms clean. It really baffles me! We put moth balls in the corner of the loo and shut the windows for privacy, but it seems that we have very little idea or interest in maintaining a public restroom.

To elaborate, I had two experiences this evening which prompted me to write this post. This afternoon I visited an old age home which has been in existence since donkeys years. I asked them for the restroom and when I walked in, I had to hold my nose. Although the space was clean, relatively clean, the stench was unbearable. I was not surprised one bit and scrammed out of the restroom and took a deep breath. I then went up to the person’s room I was visiting and was shocked to see that it was a nicely done up room, with a 42 inch flat screen TV, a split air conditioner, and nice marble floors.

I then went to the famous Elco Arcade restaurant in Bandra and experienced the same. The food was delicious and the restaurant was air-conditioned, well managed, and the service was decent. But lo and behold, I went to use the restroom and the second time around I just could not hack it. I ran out. I was flabbergasted and so disappointed with both my experiences. I really don’t get it. Why is it so hard for people to take care of their restrooms and keep them sanitized like the same way they take care of their homes, cars, clothes, and external premises? Why is it that people, even in homes, tend to pay the least attention to the hygiene and sanitation of their restrooms? Why is it that 15 years later, after living in Mumbai, is there still such a nonchalant attitude about clean and friendly restrooms? And I mean friendly to the olfactory glands. Can any of you solve this riddle for me?

All I know is that I will have to start practicing pranayama (the yoga technique of breathing) so that i can hold my breath for much longer periods than I currently can. There seems to be no other solution to my dilemma, as of now.


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