Sunday, May 24, 2009

things you learn along the way

Last week we had a house guest.

And she asked me, “ okay, so is there anything I should know about Bombay before I go out. Like what places to avoid, what streets not to walk on in broad daylight.”  That sort of thing. Just what a white girl living in Delhi, and getting her ass grabbed at least twice a day would ask.

So I though and thought. And then gave her my standard advice.

“ No, it’s actually pretty cool. Though there is one thing you should always remember in Mumbai. Pee before you leave home. Or if you’re in a restaurant, mall, coffee shop, make use of the facilities.”

She just smiled at me vaguely. Probably thought weirdo with a weak bladder.

But it’s true. If you move to Mumbai that’s the first thing you learn. I of course learnt it the hard way. The first time I was leaving work, and I felt just a little pee-ey. But then I thought home is just twenty minutes away, and if I go back to the loo, I’ll probably get caught for some work, so forget it...

Ha ha. I’ll never forget that evening. We got caught in a huge traffic jam, one truck had broken down, half a dozen traffic lights had stopped working, and it felt like everyone had left work at that very moment. Nothing moved, except my bladder which was painfully expanding by the minute.

I crossed my legs, leaned forward, gritted my teeth, tried to distract myself with thoughts of Anthony Bourdain. But no, nothing helped. The traffic would not move, there was not a single restaurant or coffee shop on that damn stretch, and soon I had tears in my eyes. A tried holding my hand, and singing a song, but nothing was helping. Only the thought of the grumpy Bihari cabbie going ballistic kept me from peeing in the cab.

Anyway, I finally made it to a Sulabh Sauchalaya that evening. And I swore to myself that it would never happen again.

But of course it did. A couple of times. The worst being when I was driving, and it was raining. Again on that same darned stretch of road. This time it got so bad, what with the persistent sound of rain on my roof and rivers running down my windscreen, that I removed my tiffin box from the plastic packet I usually carry it in. The idea was to slip the plastic packet into my jeans and pee in to it. But again, a packed double decker bus next to me, and tight jeans foiled that plan. I finally made it to the same Sulabh Sauchalaya, all teary eyed again.

Which reminds me, when I lived in Delhi, we used to pass this huge house in Vasant Vihar. And someone once told me it belongs to the guy who started the Sulabh Sauchalayas.  We always looked at it enviously.

But not anymore. Now when I go to Delhi, I’ll look at it with fondness. After all, it’s been built on my pee.


* as a sort of leave behind, here's something i found on http://natknits.wordpress.com. clearly, some people need a lot of help: dude...this is not the ocean...no, no...we can not find pomfret here...

15 comments:

Kokonad said...

Hahaha! This is a great post, AGG... it reminded me of an improv I did once, which developed into a dialogue as to why you cannot pee on the roadside in the US. I was playing an American cop and the other guy was playing an Indian driver...
Btw, the "Do Not Fish Here" sign got me laughing pretty hard...!

This is that said...

hahahahahaha..good good one..I cannot get over it..and Anthony Bourdain.. nice touch. Great read and a lovely visual at the end..seriously ? like seriously ! hahahahahahaha

Zillionbig said...

hehehe, that was learning alright. tough way to learn. LOL:)))))

Kadambari said...

Hehe! Some lesson to learn! The pic was brilliant.. Seriously. Some of those things could only be done by gymnasts! :P

Divya said...

Hahahahaha! That was a hilarious post :D The no fishing here sign is the best of the lot!

And oh so true... Bombay traffic is outrageous.. and just try using the loos at the local train station... shudder....!

♥ÐÅyÐяєÅмє®♥ said...

hehehehheh

that was one fun post....arre ek baar I also faced one situation but thanks to Indian society structure..I came ouuta cab..paid the traffic poice 20 rupees note and pee in the side of road :P

agent green glass said...

@all those who left a comment: forgot another piece of advice. always keep a one buck coin in your bag if you're the kind who needs the sulabh. the damn guards will not let you in unless you pay. i once had to break a fifty buck note, which meant visiting fifty shops...before i could do my thing at the sulabh. i was soooo teary eyed that day.

As the Mind Meanders said...

Yes... Its one on the things that Mumbai teaches you... along the way... control therapee

agent green glass said...

@blog gore: piss don't start punning. i will immediately jump in : )

Divya said...

Tsk tsk.. that sounds messy :P

As the Mind Meanders said...

Jokes apart... There was a lot of things to think about in your post AGG... Hopefully the city will be better soon... with better public transport... lesser traffic and lots of public toilets... lets not be so pissimesstic

And apologies Divya.. know that sounded messy... didn't meant to piss ya off...

Divya said...

One place where this is probably not a probem? Ala-pee in Kerala... There one probably needn't wonder.. To pee or not to pee...

agent green glass said...

i agree with bloggore divya. mumbai will soon climb the bladder of success. why in fact in a few years it will even achieve what no one been able to - world piss.

Divya said...

But the people are so unsatisfied.. they're going to pisses everyday.. and after a hard days work when they are done chakki pissing and pissing.. They cannot be happy ya..

The knife said...

Hi stumbled on your site from P's. The lack of loos in Indian cities is abysmal. And we are talking of the commercial capital. Imagine the highways. So much for developing tourism in India.

The posh hotels were succours for some of us The terrorists have put paid to that. All the best with your loan problems