there are essentially two kinds of people in this world. the ones who pee and the ones who can’t.
there is dignity in pooping if you are indian. we have been bought up answering with the whole truth and nothing but the truth to solicitous enquiries about our bowel movements. my family doctor for example, simply and effectively dispelled all ice with this startlingly evocative conversation starter - "totti kiya?" potty was what my oldest friend's grandmother and i bonded over. she'd tell me all about hers and since she was hard of hearing and refused to endager the battery life of her hearing aid by switching it on, i listened. enthralled. i recently ran into a long time acquaintance and the first thing he enquired about was whether i was still constipated. and my boss and i often discuss the relative aesthetic lent to poop by a dinner of boiled beet vs. spinach soup.
potty comes up without fail between colleagues, friends, family, lovers. it’s not one of those mechanical ‘how’s it going’ questions either. when we talk about potty, we delve. we discuss frequency, colour, consistency, aroma, past history, there in no such thing as too much detail. we compare notes, take note of achievements. congratulate each other, worry about each other, share tips and tricks. it's a secret indian socialization ritual. after all there's little you can get hoity toity about post comparing notes on the morning's ablutions.
as a chronic constipative, i have been at the receiving end of much admiration and approval every time i poop. it goes without saying that this is a phenomenon that has greatly endeared pooping to me.
peeing is different. the first sound i associate with peeing is 'cheee!' (most likely because i'd just had my evil way with my mother's sparkling sofa) and this has stayed the soundtrack to peeing in a part of my head that has receded beyond logic and reason.
my maid's two year old comes home every morning, pees copiously just outside the loo and looks at me beaming with relief and well, a certain sense of achievement i suppose. and all i have to say to this happy little girl is cheeee! i drive to work and count off what seems to be the entire male population of the city marking territory along the road and i'm thinking, cheeee! i get to work, reluctantly answer to the call of my bladder, find no toilet paper and believe me for the rest of the day, i feel cheee! i get home, put away my work stuff, wash up and settle down in the couch for a nice evening of mindless reality tv only to find myself sitting in about a litre of cat pee. i look the culprit in the eye and pointing to my wet bottom and ruined cushion cover solemnly say to him, look what you have done, cheeee! this now, is the culmination of the entire day’s face offs with peeing because the cat knows exactly what he's done and he's ok with it. he looks down his pink nose at me and advises me to check on the condition of the litter box, cheee!
the fact is, i’m a proud pooper and a mortified pee-er. i’m struck with admiration for my dear friend killer phuss when she tells of her final consecration of rome international airport. and i cringe every time i realize that somewhere in the security system of one of the nation’s leading banks, there is a video of me desperately desecrating an atm kiosk. it’s true that i’ll do just about anything to avoid peeing and that i’ll pay handsomely for the pleasure of having someone else do it instead. i can’t help it. after a lifetime of constipation, it’s enough to no longer be anal retentive. to expect me to confront my vagina in the throes of a watershed is just asking too much, killer phuss!
ps: this post is originally from a blog killer phuss and i began writing together as an ode to the boy we are raising together. i reproduce it here since i have recently been inspecting toilet bowls across the length and breadth of india as part of a work project. what can i say, contrary to all empirical evidence, they must be paying me handsomely.
image credit: i came by the thought provoking image at the beginning of this post on this blog. i couldn't agree more.
thirty, female, single, living in mumbai. i drink copious cups of filter coffee, collect the mandatory festival packs of chocolate, negotiate with the cats for a corner of the couch by the window and squash in between a pile of books, my lap top and a bowl of pop corn. then i have a long think about life. i get paid to do this. my remaining time i spend acquiring the life experience necessary to mastermind my mid life crisis. this i do not get paid to do, and can therefore do absolute justice to.