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Posted by Taniya Roy

I have to admit, my pelvic elasticity performed incredibly well that day. Two action steps short from being the proverbial Chulbul Pandey from Dabangg; but in this case, not my shirt (izzat restored) but my innards which were on the way of giving it all up. Cute yellow canaries flew in canopies around my head, and each bumper on the road felt like AlaudinKhilji hitting home. And, what was this all hoopla about? A simple miscalculation of time. 

So I, along with my parents, were on our way home from a long-awaited vacay in Nepal in one of those 2+3 seaterstate transportation buses. Tired from the trip and thoughts of the impending routine life, I slept deep in the bus that night. Now those of you who are overnight bus regulars, must know of the most-coveted, most-desired place of visit during the lengths of such trips. Regrettably no prizes for guessing, the humble sulabh sauchalaya. So, in my tryst with a good night of sleep, I missed the only stop that housed that trophy room (if you may). Even the soul-jumping horn of the Volvo bus failed to stir me up. And things would still have been fine had I not drained that Frooti at breakfast, bottoms-up. As life would have it, things didn’t take much time to escalate; and around 7 in the morning, trouble began.

Case Of Concern

I needed to pee, and badly so. It was as if the universe conspired to downstream down my bladder. But the bus seemed to be matching the speed of light.

The point is, there are certain things that society has to come to accept as okay for men and not-okay for women. Public urination is a classic case in point. Funny thing is, it should be strictly-not-okay for anyone, unless it is a health hazard/concern.

When is the next stop, ma?” I nudged my mother, from her slight slumber, urgently. “Yeah, I know, I too want to stretch my legs. Your father would never listen to what I have to say. Who sits in a bus for so lo–”, “Ma, I am on the fringe of bursting out pee!

My mother’s eyes widened in a second, the pink of her tongue out, and then went back to normal in the matter of a minute. “I warned you that it is the last stop, but you have made a habit of not listening to this old lady!” My mother’s rage suddenly transferred from my father onto me. Before I could say anything, she said, Let me ask your father if he can get the driver to stop at some proper place.

As I saw my sweet father tumble his way down the aisle to ask for the driver’s consideration, tears started rolling down my resilience. My tracts were raring to go. As I crossed my legs tight and tried straying my mind, I ended up thinking more about the problem that was (not quite) in my hands. Like when they ask you to not think of an ‘elephant’, what else is there in the world to think about? 

With my patience seeping like sand in an ever-revolving hourglass, the bus did stop. Eventually. At a rail gate. For a train to change cities. In a matter of micro-minutes, I saw boys and men, 9 to 90 respectively, jump out of the bus in hoards and line up side-by-side covering far down the horizon. An otherwise ‘regular’ thing on an otherwise ‘regular’ day, but right then, right there just two words came to me – How cruel! What was this invisible barrier of the mind that I was a woman first and human being much later? I was never a feminism-has-risen-Mother-India-I-shall-protest kind. I did not pull down my pants and made a point that I must pee then and there only, by the sides of all those men.

Also read: Are Policies Around Toilets In India Effective Enough?

This is no This is Sparta story. Not because I couldn’t, but because I wouldn’t. Public urination is a problematic act, peeps. No matter the place, no matter the gender. Especially if you can access the public toilets. For who in the world wants to go through the ordeal of seeing and smelling that? But then again, there are always some men, legs-apart-one-hand-down-front blocking trees, walls, busy roads, empty roads and the middle of empty fields (for all they care) from view. 

This is no toxic rant; we women pee in public too – (mostly) in jhund behind bushes or hillocks and/or barrier(s), when there is absolutely no proper toilet in sight.

From An Ergonomic Standpoint, Why Do You Think People Pee In Public?

First, too loud and frequent a calling from dear nature and second, because ‘some’ people simply can; and if they can, then why wait ever? This is no toxic rant; we women pee in public too – (mostly) in jhund behind bushes or hillocks and/or barrier(s), when there is absolutely no proper toilet in sight. The point is, there are certain things that society has to come to accept as “okay for men” and “not-okay for women”. Public urination is a classic case in point. Funny thing is, it should be strictly-not-okay for anyone, unless it is a health hazard/concern.

Image Source: Phys.org

All this fiasco has always led me to believe that this must be some kind of conspiracy! Maybe some big shot older-than-time science guy has eternally programmed women to drink lesser water. Or, maybe holier-than-thou evolution has blessed us with roomier bladders. Or maybe, hold on to your seats now, there is even this teeny-tiny chance that we, women, simply do not pee as gracefully as men do – to qualify us to make public. 

Please don’t burst my bubble (not bladder) and tell me that it’s the same old story of how men and women should act in public and how it would preserve society’s honour like it’s the last remaining piece of a pterodactyl egg. All things constant, public urination is an extremely repelling act. It stinks literally, sociologically and…*drum rolls*…equally. So no matter the gender that society has assigned you, when you are raring to go, please get a room…and in this case, a bathroom to be more specific.

Also read: World Toilet Day: Why Are Toilets A Feminist Concern?

P.S. And, oh about my toilet trauma that day, I did find a release but only much later. And, no I didn’t pee my pants.


Taniya is a shy Bong from Kolkata, the city of sepia dreams. A ‘paw’rent, semi-colon enthusiast and wordsmith (yes, exactly in that order), she writes for a living and lives for writing her thoughts out. All her teeth are chocolate-sweet, but she keeps on planning to climb the health mountain some day. Binging on psychological thrillers and disturbing her furry babies ‘Gupikanta’ and ‘Nutubehari’ (while they sleep) are her other top priorities in life. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Source: Straitstimes

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