Friday, August 26, 2011
India Trip Days 12-13: Bathroom Issues
"I have a bit of an issue. Actually, I'm using the wrong word. Because there is a negative connotation attached to the word "issue", I'm going to say that it's more like a tic. If given a choice, I just can't use any bathroom I set my eyes on. It has to be one that I am comfortable using. The toilet must flush properly, the faucet shouldn't have dirty water coming out of it, and there shouldn't be spiders the size of Crocosaurus chilling in the corners. Diverging from the subject for a brief moment... Eight years ago, due to the scarcity of Western toilets, I have been forced to use the likes of "Eastern Latrines". Don't be fooled by the exotic vibes that that name gives away. It was one of the grossest experiences I had to deal with during my childhood trips here and it still succeeds in haunting me today. In order to for you to understand how bad it was you need to see it for yourself. I will not be putting up a picture of it because it will ruin this entry. So you can look up the words "Indian Toilet" yourself on Google images when you decide to knowingly compromise your day.
The bathrooms here have evolved significantly since then, however; there was one thing I observed. Most of these houses don't have a separate bathtub in their bathrooms. Imagine yourself taking a shower where you regularly brush your teeth. That's just the way it is here. Fading back to my original thought...I'm comfortable with the bathroom in Papachen uncle's house. Here, instead of crawly spiders, we have sneaky lizards hiding within the cracks of the room and behind the light fixtures. Nice right? Furthermore, I could actually use toilet paper here, while I can't in the houses I visit. In these places, the only cleaning utensil that is used is a flexible pipe attached to a water source that works somewhat like a faucet. It's not easy to use this thing. There is some secret technique that my parents failed to teach me when I was in my younger years. There is no choice in bathrooms here. This is what I have to deal with and I end up leaving the bathroom, half soaked in water, with my hands covering my face in shame.
Now, add spicy Indian food, as the little hot pepper on top, and you end up with a nightmarish battle between your digestive system and your self respect. I'm going stop all this toilet talk with that thought. Every time I say the word toilet, I feel dirtier. Right now, I'm back at Shwetha Bhavan. I feel great, clean, and full of energy. It's been two days since I left Papachen uncle's house to visit some distant relatives. We stayed overnight at Annie's house. Annie is my mom's niece and she had two amazing little boys: Jerry, the ecstatically playful one, and Jibin, the fun yet mature teen.
One of my favorite memories of this trip will be of the time I spent with these two boys. I almost didn't have the heart to leave. Early the next day, as we were leaving, Jerry understandingly said, "Ok, see you next year." When we replied that we wouldn't be coming back for another four to five years, you should have seen his face. It was one of disappointment and sadness. It's obvious, it's rude to think of leaving when you have only just said hello. It was a reality that I, unfortunately, had to face. But add children into the picture and it's borderline criminal."