300 toilets are left abandoned every minute across the world. Most of them breathe their last under tragic situations inflicted on them by human beings. The majority of these toilets reside in India and other unimportant third world countries. The life of a public toilet is a tough life.
The following is an excerpt from the autobiography of a public toilet published years ago that was recently found in a sewage pipe after it clogged the eastern part of New Delhi.
“I am pretty happy, though, well mostly. I have learned to embrace solitude and I can’t complain. I get pampered sometimes, with nice antiseptic cleaners and other fancy toilet bowl cleaners. I feed on water and getting flushed with clear waters on either side is the elixir of my life. While I have had it pretty smooth up until now, I constantly get to hear about the woes of public toilets from my neighbours. So I decided to do something about it, to bring about some change. This is also because making change is considered ‘cool’ these days.
I took it to myself, with the help of a few other toilet bowls to document our lives. We contacted a few journalist friends and began our journey to the bottom of the earth. We started off with toilets in the villages, they were the saddest and suffering the most. One toilet, who hadn’t been visited in three decades, was on the verge of dying because there wasn’t any water in it. “No one is documenting how we feel, all humans care about are living beings’ emotions and feelings.”, toilet 116 said. Just to clarify, us toilets don’t have names, since we are not that important.
My team and I drew out samples of what some of us went through. On careful examination of some samples, we found out that while some had whole pieces of corn and okra seeds, some had messed up consistencies. Toilet 567, a resident of Dhaka’s railway station said, “I am aware that it is my job to absorb your filth, but you have taken me for granted. For all those times you didn’t bother to clear the skid marks, for all those times you let it rot, I curse you.”A more furious subject, toilet 456 (name changed to protect the identity) said, “We will pay back by overflowing and self-clogging.”
The only way to calm them down, dear users is to flush once you’re done. 89% toilets agreed that their worst days are when users have loose motions. “Sometimes, they are so loose, that even my friend, the humble bathroom tile has to face some of it.”, said 678, one of our research sponsors. We urge you to flush aggressively every time you are done. If you see remaining bits and pieces, do your bit even then.
Another concern is with toilets without ventilation and baseless construction. Toilet 547, who was in a terrible state when we got to meet her said, “I have been residing in a room with no windows. I thought human architects made sense, but I guess not. And oh the stench?! Can’t you guys eat right, ever?! How do you think we feel, looking at around 50 assholes a day, that give out weird surprises.” Toilet 547 had become delusional due to the isolation she was subjected to for all these years. She thought she was slowly transforming into a urinal.
I’d like to recount one of my own experiences. Once a house fly was exploring my structure, while a human came to do her business. The fly didn’t realise and before she knew it, she was buried in something yellow, it was very big. She breathed her last next to an undigested piece of carrot.
I also recall a story of a young man called Mateo, who had done what he had to and later realised that there was no running water or toilet paper in the vicinity. He breathed his last sitting on me, smoking his last cigarette. His last words were, “Why Mexican food, whyyyyyyy!” I have seen tragedies, I have seen sadness and I have seen death. I am too disturbed to go on, unless some sense of change is witnessed, which is what my research is about.
It’s high time, fellows, that you start giving a shit, not literally this time. Start caring about the containers of your filth, respect us for we are the bearers of your secrets, we are the bearers of ungodly things, almost satan like. I was left alone, so many nights to rot in the stench, so much so that the stench became a part of me. No one wanted to clean me, for my sins were bad. Too many people came, looked, screamed, yelled, some even became blind and left me there. Alone.
Our request from you people is to not take us for granted. Treat us with care, especially when you know it’s going to be bad. Respect us more, and please, please clean us before you go out confidently into the world, leaving your dirty secrets inside us.
I will keep doing my job till these pipes have it in them. You see, I don’t have much choice, I am bound by cement. I wish I was a human, who could take anything for granted. I wish I were a human who is the supreme animal, changing the world, one dump at a time.
Hoping that this research will spread the required awareness and do our community some good.
Signing off, just one of the many toilets, number 891,789,201.”
Seems like the toilets did manage to take their revenge after all, the unclogging left 10 humans injured.
Watch this documentary to get some perspective.