Inspiration: Kawaya No-Kami from the internet.
Indian friend who lives in Germany recently moved houses and found a stage toilet in the new one. One in which once you do your shit you get to examine it before you flush it down. I had written about it when I encountered one in Austria which is why she wrote to me saying – “Thought of you, we have stage toilet in our new house.”
I thought of the time when I first enocuntered one. Though I had read about it, I didn’t know what I had done wrong because after the business was done, it was still not in water as it usally is. So I quickly flushed it down. Thankfully where I stayed we had a regular western toilet. The waterless toilets that one finds in the west. And if I was crying about dry shitting, then the stage toilet was level two.
Dry shitting had been such a cultural shock. Imagine a typical Indian who has grown up squatting, playing with water, singing as shit happens and then finding self in the liberal and forward west, in a loo that doesn’t have a single faucet. Wet baby wipes came to my rescue. Now a friend tells me she usually walks in with a bottle of water. I am considering this option for next time.
Anyway, coming back to friend who just moved. She sent me a link to a German children’s book called – About the little mole, that wanted to know, who ‘did’ [poo-poo] on his head. As we got talking she added how she absolutely dislikes the stage toilet in their new house. After that shit went south. She told me that she thinks it is an urban legend but she read on the internet that, “it was supposedly so, so that Germans can examine their poop because of all the pork consumed… And heavy meat diet…this allows you to see if there are worms,etc in your poop. One online thing also said so you can take a stool sample easily… How many times in a bloody year do you need a stool sample???” I laughed and told her that I had read that it was not for inspections rather to avoid the ‘splash’.
Anyway, the conversation continued, she said “Also, poop is indicator of health (this is true fact), maybe seeing is knowing.” I agreed readily, “ha ha ha. Your shit says it all.”
She went on to tell me about how she had watched an Oprah episode on poop in which she says,”If your poop dives into the water like a graceful swimmer…that’s perfect poop… Slightly ‘S’ shaped.” “Ha ha ha, I agree. When I was working with that —– na, I was always shitting bricks, never the ‘S’ shaped ones. Oprah knows.”
“I thought she was easy going.”
“No, Maha BIG EGO she has.”
After that short bit of goss digression we found our way back to grossness. I told her I was going to use this as #bodyofstories post. She protested and said not unless I watch the Oprah episode, go to the toilet museum and also read about how ancient Romans took a dump. So I read about ancient Romans. They were gross and here it is.
The ancient Romans sat on long rows of massive
stone with a hole cut into the stone every few feet. In front of the seating area was a channel or elongated basin with sponge sticks. After the job was done, they would grab a sponge stick to clean themselves. After finishing with the sponge stick, they’d scrap the sponge against the side of the stone hole and put the sponge stick for another person to use. Eeeeks!
About toilet museums, I told her, I have worked with several kids and using a loo used by a bunch of kids is equal to going to any shit museum, so I should be exempted. We agreed how children just can’t aim and won’t flush well and that disgusting image just won’t leave your mind. We also agreed on the grossness of train loos and were thankful that squat toilets still exist and you don’t have to worry about who parked their asses before you.
While we were at it, I told her how I almost said no to a project in a village because it had no sanitation. My biggest fear of doing it in the open has always been that as you get comfortable, a snake sneaks up and bites you. Death while taking a dump scares the shit out of me. But I must add I finally did go to the village and booked myself in a hotel in a town close by with the luxury of a toilet that I didn’t have to share with anyone. But while I was there, I was told how kids from this village went on a trip and had to use a toilet. They were okay the first few days and finally asked if they could just go in the open, behind a mountain or something because they felt more at ease. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
But with this friend, we are on the same page especially when it comes to toilets. She wants to give sermons to people who use her loo, before they do the big job. I want to make sure if and when I marry, we have at least two loos and one that is exclusively mine. And I will put out the story of Japanese toilet god, Kawayaa no-kami in my toilet.
Born from the excrement of the goddess of Earth and darkness, Kawaya provided protection for people who used early toilets that were darker and more dangerous.
People would decorate their toilets as a shrine for Kawaya no-kami. It was believed that if the bathrooms were not clean or if people didn’t respect Kawaya, their children would be born ugly and unhappy.
Kawaya no-kami ki jai.
Now only if more people believed in this story, toilets would be cleaner. And wish more people would have Japanese bidet toilets, with under seat lighting, seat warming, deodorisation and the best bit the bidet, it is like a little pat from the toilet saying, “good job.” Friend says, she is sure they will be rolling out the good job bit soon, “I am sure someone will bloody connect it to those walking trackers so you can track the quality of your shit.”
Ha ha ha, You mean like ShitBit? LOL.