It’s like the plague in my house today. My brother and his four friends have been stricken with the local curse: Delhi Belly. I feel gluttonous having five bathrooms – but what a godsend, this gluttony! To have the space to be alone to manage the misery of not knowing which end will erupt… this, is a gift. Our house is littered with charcoal tablets, probiotic pills, Immodium, bottles of water, extra rolls of toilet paper and lethargic bodies. This morning, Lala found one of the girls asleep on the bathroom floor. Mildly comic is the way everyone is walking. They’ve perfected this soft-soled shuffle – an attempt to avoid churning the contents of their tummy and to protect their battered bits, no doubt. Sadly, my guests had to cancel their flight to Goa and the beaches of southwest India today.
How apt that the day before everyone got sick we visited the toilet museum. It was a rather comic and cultish experience – and it was difficult not to laugh at the sincerity of the docent when he insisted that India invented the first toilet and sanitation. Conveniently though, the ancient civilization that used both with much success was flushed away by an unknown “catastrophic” event. So died the toilet and sanitation – and India has been slow to recover this loss. It’s become cliché to note that there are more cell phones in this country than toilets… but I think it’s true – or the sentiment is, at least.
I won’t go into all the details about our tour, but I will share this local custom for those of you considering a visit: It is polite to hand things to another person with your right hand only, as your left is used for cleaning the genitals with water after you visit the loo, or more probably here, the field, the sidewalk, the corner lot, the back alley.
Here’s a contemporary advertising campaign:
And one of the displays in the museum:
In honor of fair reporting, the museum is run by a very serious NGO that builds environmentally friendly waste systems in India. This is me, smelling recycled poo:
Need to poo and you don’t have anywhere to go? Try this: (It’s worth clicking the image and reading the script!)
Gandhi and Greek-Chinese bookends:
This would make a great Apple ad: