Public toilets in India are a big problem. Such a big one that our prime minister went all the way to the US to declare that he would work towards building and improving public restrooms back home. Now, if you’ve ever used loos at railway platforms, eateries, offices or any public institution in any Indian city, you would know that the sight that meets your eye in there is one that nightmares are made of! Most Indian women are taught how to use public loos very early in life by their mothers, and thank God for that, otherwise we’d come down with a UTI every time we peed outside our homes!
Here are a few neat tricks that every girl needs to deal with public toilets in India.
1. Never make contact with the toilet seat. It might look clean, but trust us it is not. Use toilet paper to cover up the seat, or disposable toilet seat covers. Better still, avoid sitting down properly altogether! Your legs will wobble and your knees will hurt like hell the first few times you try to pee while “hovering” over the commode, but perseverance pays off. ;)
2. Practice the art of holding it in. Or become shameless like men and pee wherever you like. Seriously, if you are on the road, it’s probably better for your health to pee behind a bush or something rather than using the restrooms at dhabas or petrol pumps - they are positively ghastly!
3. Always check if there is water to begin with. If there isn’t any, get out, leave, don’t even bother. Or carry a bottle of water with you. We’ll let you figure out what to do with it. :P
4. Many of these loos tend not to have any soap either. We suggest you buy those thin paper soap strips that are bound to come in handy in such situations.
5. Always carry hand sanitizer or disinfectant spray with you. You want to make sure your hands are doubly clean: wash your hands with soap, but then also use some hand sanitizer. You can also use it to clean the taps, flush handles, latch, etc. - anything that’s been touched by anyone else with dirty hands! You could use it to properly sanitize the toilet seat as well (though that would probably require a LOT of sanitizer).
6. Do not push your pants down to the floor. This is not your private bathroom. We’ve actually seen Indian aunties make their kids pee on the restroom floor! You don’t want your clothes getting anywhere near such filthy floors.
7. Use toilet paper to pull / push the flush handle. In fact, don’t touch anything unless you have TP in your hand. Carry TP in your bag, because (but naturally) most loos don’t have TP.
8. These days you get really cool devices like the Pee Buddy, which lets women stand and pee. You might want to carry this in your purse at all times!
9. Make sure you’ve applied some Odomos or some other mosquito repellent before entering loos, especially the ones you might encounter on highways or at petrol pumps. They are literally insect breeding grounds, with filthy standing water.
10. Wear proper, covered shoes whenever possible. Flip flops or sandals will leave you exposed to all kinds of filth and germs.