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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Potty Talk

It's time to talk business, what are the bathrooms really like in India? Since all of us have to use a bathroom, and some of us require more facilities than others - this is a serious matter. The options in India range from the side of the road (most common for Indian men) to a standard western style toilet with toilet paper available. However, finding what suits you at the time you need it most can become like searching for a needle in a haystack.
As an American I have a hard time thinking I can successfully use an Indian toilet, see picture above, however I have learned that it really facilitates the "going" (see attached diagram). Can you believe that? I guess we haven't tried in the US hence the need to advertise laxatives on TV. That diagram was actually on a website I found advocating the return to the Indian toilet for "health purposes." The only place I have actually seen this type of toilet was in a few homes we looked at with servant quarters, apparently the help likes a traditional squat. Most often I have tried to time my bio breaks with a trip to the mall, a nice hotel or upscale restaurant. Even then, toilet paper availability is slim. Just today at work, there was not one sheet of toilet paper in the bathroom on my floor, I had to make a quick dash to another floor. If you are wondering why toilet paper is not standard, most bathrooms have a little spigot for water so you can use the left hand to clean and rinse off. I will carry toilet paper in my purse before I conform. These spigots are present in the offices and nice hotels as well, a few times when the rest room has been full, I have paused for a moment to see if I can hear anyone using the spigott. Not yet!
On to toilet paper itself, I am used to shopping at Costco in the US and purchased 30 roles of the economical "Kirkland" brand for roughly $14.99 USD. In India, 10 roles (which a much smaller circumference) were available for Rs700 which translates to $14.89 USD. The kids are getting rationed 3 squares per use :)
Oh and if you are coming to visit me, we have three western style bathrooms equipped with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, flushable wipes and a room freshner.


  1. Ok, so my former boss has asked, where are the shoes in this blog if you are well soled...I forgot to tell you the most important things about bathrooms in India - the floor is always wet, so sandals can get splatterd and high heels are not so great if you have to squat. Think ballet shoes or keds :)

  2. Like china ...but the toilet paper isnt supposed to be flushed ...hence the baskets beside the loo ...hence my cause of blocking :)

  3. I love that this is the first of your posts that I'm feeling compelled to comment on! (Kari, I'm going to get you in on this conversation.)

    OK. So the toilet in the floor. That also exists in France, which we might agree is one of the more 'civilized' places in the western world. Seeing that photo as I begin to read, I think, oh, not so bad! UM. Spigot? Left hand? Clean and rinse? No thank you!! I also vote for galoshes, maybe the kind that slip over shoes. Let me know if I can send you a pair (or ten)!!

  4. i mean, I just love the illustration as well. I just clicked back on this page and literally sat back in my chair. It DOES make a compelling argument! Ha.