Few days back the college where I work was a center for candidates appearing in Pre-Medical Entrance Exam. The candidates ranged from general category to the reserved, urban to rural and intelligent enough to understand instructions to the dumbest. We, the lecturers, had been assigned as invigilators. Now, each floor has 4 bathrooms at its corner…for girls, ladies staff, gents staff and boys and has that written boldly in red at top. Before the exam started, I went to freshen myself in the ladies staff one and just as I went inside the already open door, a young boy (must be candidate) was answering nature’s call!!! I rushed out shouting “its ladies bathroom” and went straight to the assigned exam room.. [Yeah laugh at my plight!!] Thank God he had his back towards me!!!
Later in retrospect, I thought why was I feeling embarrassed with no fault of mine and I was disgusted at the non existence of the feeling of shame in most Indian Males (or maybe all males of world). Even if the boy had entered the wrong bathroom and didn’t even know that there are separate facilities in cities/colleges; still he should have locked the door not out of manners or etiquette but out of shame. As I analyzed further, I remembered the common sight of men(any age group) answering nature’s call by roadside or on a wall and mostly not hidden from view. For pictorial depiction you can see here.
One may argue that maybe men have less bladder control than women but anatomically speaking women are supposed to have less bladder control. But do we see women sitting on road side? Maybe the poor and illiterate women are seen but males of any class & any age can be seen. They consider it their birthright. The trouble we girls have to face when we go on a picnic or trip!!! We have to take a friend (girl) along to stand guard against any Peeping Toms. Why us? Men don’t have to worry about such problems.
So is this habit a result of the difference in upbringing of the male child and the female child in Indian society? Do we encourage our sons to become shameless by allowing them to bath openly or roam around without wearing vests? Is covering up essential only for the girls? Is lajja or shame meant exclusively for women? Is decency a feminine virtue?
Why is it wrong for girls to wear low waist jeans and not for men? I don’t like seeing or knowing about the brand of brief they wear!!! Another example.. this attitude “We are men. We don’t need to hide” is so expressed in the design of Men’s bathroom (note: no personal experience..as seen in movies and asked guy friends) which is different from the Ladies’ in matters of privacy.
Of course the Govt is to blame for not providing public utilities along the road on an infrastructural basis and for not maintaining those which are provided. One factor is the so called lack of funds for such a trivial thing when we have bigger problems to deal with like price rise and poverty. Another may be that are not most of the politicians male and have the same attitude towards “shame”? Thus they feel no need to provide such a basic amenity even in slum areas. There is an old joke about this Indian habit. You can read the joke and a good rant about this habit and another famous Indian habit of spitting here.
I admit its fine when one goes long distance driving like from one city to city. But in normal circumstances why can’t you just stop at a restaurant/petrol station or hold it till you reach wherever you are going? And for God’s sake look if its for men or women & for Shame’s sake Lock The Door!!!
P.S. Some (like a very dear guy friend of mine) may think “what an absurd topic!” but its My Blog and I can rave and rant about whatever I feel like. So there!