I don't know if this subject has been discussed on SCI before, but I
think it is certainly something that fits the mandate of the newsgroup
After all, squatting is an integral part of our CULTURE. In fact, in
many places, SOCIAL squatting is also very common, which makes this
topic one of the few that completely satisfies the SOCIAL CULTURE INDIAN
description of the newsgroup. Besides, I think that now that a fresh
batch of students is entering the country, there will be many who will
be first experiencing the culture shock of strangely configured toilets.
******WARNING : Subsequent text has explicit language ***************
It is an open secret that not all Indians who come to the west adopt
the different shitting practice.(For a hilarious short story on this
topic, I would strongly reccommend reading the book called "Swimming
Lessons" by Rohinton Mistry, an Indian author who lives in Toronto.)
Those Indians who do succeed in changing their habits, usually have
some difficulty in the transition phase. If your body and brain are
trained to shit only when squatting, it isn't easy to retrain them
to accept the sitting position. Compounding this difficulty is the
fact that one has to wipe the ass with toilet paper rather than
good old water from the lota! Suddenly the desi has to accept the
inevitability of carrying a few rolled up shreds of paper in the ass
constanly giving a sensation of having a worm infection. The poor
ass gets sore with the rough papery rubbings and then the
frantic scratchings by the desi's attempts to extract the paper/worm.
Some emerge from this traumatic period wounded but totally converted.
Others give up and take to squatting on the pot, and using water. Yet
others remain somewhere in between, making some compromises here and
While nothing much can be said about the first group, there are a lot
of interesting practices adopted by the other two groups:
It isn't difficult to balance yourself on the pot if you are squatting
with bare feet. If you take support from a nearby structure like a
washbasin, there is basically no real discomfort. The challenge lies in
minimising those massive splashes that result. The water level in the
commode is optimum for people shitting in the sitting position. If
you squat on the pot, then your asshole is at a much higher level and
the shit falls with a much greater impact, causing some uncomfortable
splashes. Several solutions are available- 1. Master the art of aiming
your shit so that it slips in at the edge of the water, between the
water and the pot. That way you also don't have to worry about residual
smears on the inner wall that refuse to get flushed off. This approach
is artisically the most appealing, but needs practice. 2. Take a lot
of toilet paper and spread it on the surface of the water to impede the
splash. Toilet seat covers in public toilets are pefect- you aren't
going to need them anyway since NOBODY is afraid of getting AIDS from
the soles of the feet! This approach works, but is wasteful of paper
and hence, not politically correct. 3. Get used to the splashes. It is
only water, and maybe some small amounts of human excreta. Grin and
bear it. Works for some people, but usually breaks down in New York
public toilets. 4. Substitute a high surface tension/viscosity fluid
in the pot, to reduce the splash. Popular with certain theoretical
physicists as an intellectually satisfying solution.
Now for the washing/wiping dilemma. There is rarely a problem at home.
Just keep an innocent glass or paper cup at the washbasin. It can
serve a dual function: lota-substitute for desi squatters and drinking
glass for American guests! In public toilets it is a bigger problem.
Carrying a lota around isn't always practical. The best solution I have
heard of is to carry some of those scented moist tissues that airlines
hand out. It is still paper, but wet paper is better than dry paper.
One caution is that some asses may be allergic to the scent. I doubt
whether the EPA/FDA has tested those tissues on anal mucous membranes.
Another major challenge of squatters is the use of public toilets. While
some are not embarrassed at all, there are others who go to great lengths
to prevent themselves from being discovered as squatters. It is generally
more difficult to balance yourself with shoes on, and with no washbasin
to take support from. If you take off your shoes and then someone
sees a stall occupied by a pair of shoes with no legs attached, they migh
get really puzzled about it. In New York, if the shoes are good, someone
would certainly reach out and try to steal them, forcing the owner to
interrupt his/her shitting in a hurry. There just isn't any perfect way
of shitting in public toilets.
As is true of all cultural differences, each culture thinks that its own
practices are better or at least more normal. Hence, when I talk to my
American colleagues about our Indian practices, they usually express
varying degrees of disgust at the thought of washing asses with hands
and curiosity at the squatting posture. Like a true Indian, I argue
strongly that the squatting posture is the most appropriate for the
'job' and that nothing except water is clean enough. The Americans
usually stop shaking hands with me after these converstations!
Well folks, all this writing about the act has stimulated my large
intestine, so I think I will have to end this article soon. And yes,
I will be squatting on the pot.
For what ?
Vidya Hima Sagar (van...@enel.ucalgary.ca)
disclaimer 1: Just testing..... please ignore :-)
disclaimer 2: I cant speel ehether and what does RTFM mean, man ?
disclaimer 3: when we are at it, can somebody pleeeeeze tell me where
sivaramakrishna eswar chandra vidya sagar anjaneya sarma is ?
I hadn't eaten even a crumb since I lost sight of him a
Avoid reality at all costs. Hog up the BW.
How about the reverse experience of people who go to India, especially
kids? Initially, I was scared to go near the flat commodes in India? I
was afraid of what might happen if I slipped and fell into that big
hole. Also, the idea of sitting in that wierd position was pretty funny
On one of the Johnny Carson shows( or was it Lettermen's), Michael J Fox
gave a funny account of what happened to him in Thailand(or was it
Burma?). He fell sick and was put in a hospital. When he was shown the
bathroom, he was surprised as hell to see a hole and two bricks.
I have a friend here who came to the U.S. at the age of six. At first,
his younger brother (5 years old) couldn't figure out how to shit on
such a commode. So he squatted on it and after a few minutes, slipped
and fell in it
Now what the heck do you think he does in there? Transcendental Meditation!
- Hate to say it but life "stinks" :)
Actually something similar already exists. It is not automatic and there
are two pots involved. After you finish on one you move over to the other
one which has a lever to release the jet of the water. Of course you may
or may not use your hand, your choice :). These are available in some posh
hotels in U. S. If you want to see it and dont want to spend money on it,
you can get a glimpse of it in the movie Crocodile Dundee II.
Toilet paper is quite inferior
'cos it's rough on the posterior;
The good 'ol lota is passe
So buy yourself a bidet.
Ram Devanathan - a fan of Mike 'Samurai' Singletary. Go Bears!
The article also says that the idea of using water was taken from the customs of
some south asian countries. This company is at present fine tuning the design.
The article also says that, although this technique is superior and good for
environment and reduces paper consumption, the american and european tissue
manufacturing companies are not happy. It is expected that this design may be
introduced in the market in about two years. This is a good technique, because
one does not need to use one's hands, but at the same time use water and feel
happy :) and there is no mess involved.
|> Actually something similar already exists. It is not automatic and there
|> are two pots involved. After you finish on one you move over to the other
|> one which has a lever to release the jet of the water.
It's called a bidet.
There is only one pot. I had it in my house when I lived in Japan
Only thing is we still used a toilet paper to wipe the water off,
but it is nice nevertheless, particularly when you wake up in cold
Or along the same lines...
In days of old, when men were bold,
And paper wasn't invented,
They wiped their ass, on tufts of grass,
And they were quite contented.
>Ram Devanathan - a fan of Mike 'Samurai' Singletary. Go Bears!
Actually, in France, and I suppose in other European countries the bidet
is not used for the immediate "post-ablutions" as is evinced by the fact
that it is located in the BATHroom, whereas the commode is typically
in a very tiny separate "Vay Say" (i.e. W.C.). The French use (incredibly
bad) toilet paper in the W.C.
Top complain Dan Quayle had while visiting France : "The water
fountain in the bathroom is made for midgets".
If I remember correctly, such "cans" are already in use (except
the warm air to dry your better halves) and I remember seeing something
like this in the movie Crockodile Dundy (I) and infact the Ausatralian
dude makes a joke about it. He sees it in the New York Hotel bathroom
for the first time.
Pl. correct me if I am wrong.
* razdan@toy Test and Methodology Group *
* raz...@phx.mcd.mot.com Diablo Plant, Tempe Az *