Wondering how to use a squat toilet in India? Do you want to know the real reason why women always go to the toilets in pairs? Obviously and most immediately it is to talk about Men and what is Wrong (or Right) With Them, but there is a deeper more instinctive reason why we do so.We need someone to hold our handbag while we take a dump.
This is a genetic habit embedded in our makeup from the days when we lived in the jungles and wild animals abounded. The fear of being taken by a wild animal whilst shitting is an ancient fear in the heart of the human.
Squat toilets are spoken about with either horror or a laissez fareness that doesn’t help at all when you are first confronted with a squat.The health benefits of squatting are well documented, and most developing nations do not have the benefit of a sewer system so the use of toilet paper is actively discouraged.
Paper is the only thing Not Allowed down a squat toilet, everything else seems to be permitted, at least in public places.I have seen some interesting arrangements in bus stands all over India, but the most memorable was two bricks positioned on a square of concrete that was awash in human waste. There was no outlet for the waste, it just sat and seethed in the noonday sun, bubbling menacingly. I passed on that and spend ten more hours “holding on”.
For the solo female traveler without the benefit of a Toilet Companion, here are a few tips to help you through your first visit to a squat toilet.
Once you have the routine down, the practise doing a speeded up version and you are also ready for your first case of diarrhea on the road, every traveler nightmare. Try to get it down to three seconds.
You need to position yourself so that you have the tap on your left hand side.First check that the tap is working and that water is available.You might want to pour some water down to either clean the thing before you squat or to facilitate an easier evacuation of your own wastes down the hole or consider the reason for the stick which is usually standing near the back of the toilet. If you are wearing trousers with side pockets, empty your pockets. Keys, cell phones and credit cards still work after a dump in the toilet but you never feel the same about them afterwards.
If you are wearing a salwaar kameez then the event is going to require some Yogic Discipline. Lets assume you are carrying a small daypack that fits snugly around your shoulders. First, remove your pack and stuff in side your dupatta or scarf and anything else you are holding in your hands.If you can’t keep the bag on your back, then hold it in your teeth or balance it on your head.
Bend down and roll the legs of your trousers up a little bit to guard against splash marks.With your left hand, hold your trousers around knee height. In one smooth movement you will
Squat, Flip the back of your top up over your back with your right hand and AT THE SAME TIME pull your pants down from the waist to the knees. What you want is every piece of fabric at least six inches away from the business end of this operation.Squat with your feet flat to the ground for extra balance, especially on trains. This helps to develop strong thigh muscles and means you wont inadvertently put your hand out to balance yourself and TOUCH something.
After you have done the business, hold the water container in your right hand and pour it down your Khyber Pass, using your left hand to dislodge any ‘cling ons’. Rinsing your hand as you do so.By this time the bus horn will be tooting like crazy, or the train will begin to shudder into a station or someone will burst in on you.Quickly reverse the previous undressing operation, leaving all extraneous material in your day-pack wash your hands thoroughly with the ubiquitous Lifebuoy Soap and run for the bus that is by now lurching away from you.