Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Loo.... and behold!Happy International Women's Day!


To the Goddess in every woman! Happy International Women's Day!
****************
This is a picture that means a lot to me. It was shot by my son-in-law Pramod, in Pune, a few months ago. My very own Goddesses, Anandita, Avantikka and Arundhati, look really, really happy - but their mum looks the happiest!
I have to tell you, I was in top form this morning. It definitely felt good to be featured as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in India ( DNA newspaper )but it was my husband who made my day when he said, "When I married you.... you were already 'The Woman of Tomorrow' .... not just 'The Woman of Today'." I take that as a supreme compliment and want to tell him, by marrying me, he also established his own credentials as 'The Man of Tomorrow - not Today!"
On that jaunty note , darlings.... go forth and have the best time. Yes, all you wonderful men, too!
***************
This appeared in 'The Week'....

Beware, the corporate bladder….

The annual Chick Fest also known as the International Women’s Day will be celebrated dutifully on the 8th of March. But to organisers of assorted celebrations and festivities, I have just one question to ask – and I ask it aggressively : Where will all those women ‘go’? Sounds like an innocuous question? Not so! It needs to be screamed out loud!Women the world over have nowhere to ‘go’ and it is leading to a very serious serious medical problem that polite society refuses to recognize. The blunt and basic truth is, women have nowhere to urinate when they are in a public place . Women are supposed to exercise yogic control over their bursting bladders, especially when they travel. This year’s railway budget generated a lot of heat, especially from women commuters complaining about a lack of loos at railway stations. If at all bathrooms do exist, they are generally locked up or filthy. With difficult access and no alternatives, women train themselves to hold it all in – for hours on end. This leads to more than mere discomfort, let me tell you. Toxic levels begin to build up, leading to a whole host of what are euphemistically called ‘female problems’ ( ranging from painful urinary tract infections to worse medical conditions). Despite this obvious neglect of basic bodily functions, women somehow feel coy, even ashamed of taking a ‘pee break’ even in offices that do provide separate toilets for them. They don’t like to make their way to distant bathrooms and horribly self conscious, even distinctly embarrassed when ‘caught’. No such issues for men, who of course, are free to ‘go’ anywhere at any time – by the roadside, on the beach, behind rocks, against trees… why,even along the railway tracks, their genitals on full view. Like they say,
‘When you gotta go, you gotta go!” Unless you are a woman!
My entire being was obsessing over this vexing problem last week as I spent long hours inside a public hospital with an ailing relative. Let me put it this way – my mind was in my bladder. And my bladder was bursting. Such was my distress, I couldn’t think beyond peeing – preferably in a clean loo with a lock on the door! There must have been hundreds of female co-sufferers that day who were unable to focus on the task they were there for and could only walk around with pained expressions , their legs tightly crossed.This was ridiculous and unfair. By the time I got home late in the evening, I was sure I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom on time – such was the urgency. I was angry and impatient as I snapped at anybody in the line of fire. Several unsuspecting family members got it in the neck if they dared to cross my path – the one leading to the loo!The scenario now shifts to another hospital – a plush private one this time. Similar story. Except that there was supposedly a loo reserved for women on the premises - but it was tucked away in some obscure corner. My daughter and I went on a determined lavatory hunt. We had a one point agenda – to pee or not to pee was hardly the question – we HAD to. Just then, a gentleman in a bright red shirt walked up to us and whispered , “Loo? Follow me…” He was a senior doc and had accurately guessed our mission … he was our hero. Our saviour. Gratefully, we marched into his private domain and used the facilities reserved for doctors. Once relieved, Dr.R.R.Nawalkar spoke on the sensitive issue of the dearth of toilets for women across the world and how it has always been a low priority. The apt term ‘Corporate Bladder’ syndrome comes from him and encapsulates this condition perfectly.He talked about women with exaggeratedly bloated bellies that have nothing to do with being fat – it is actually an overstretched bladder that is unable to ‘deflate’ after years and years of abuse. “Think of a balloon that is blown up and blown up. Suddenly you take the air out…but the balloon cannot regain its original shape after being that stretched.” Dr.Nawalkar has spent a lot of time studying this universal crisis and said it was time women spoke up and demanded these basic conveniences in public places.
He is so right. That’s the reason why I have written this column. It is straight from the heart. But it is also from the bladder. On International Women’s Day, I demand the Right to Pee. This is no laughing matter. I hope it is taken seriously, especially by our President, Shrimati Pratibha Patil.

47 comments:

Deepti Tyagi said...

ohh miss De you are so right and it's the right tym for all the ladies to speak up instead of bearing all the inconvenience. ignoring the nature's call is all wat we end up doing in the scenario of extreme dearth of adequate facilities.

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Arjun said...

Its bizarre that its bladder bytes that takes center stage for some of you on Int. Women's day. :)
Which is why I rate education for women as a desperate need of the hour, not just for uplifting womankind, controlling populations, but also rescue you all from your loo woes.
There are easy-to-use solutions available for people suffering from urinary incontinence for both men as well as women. I'm sure you can apply the same solution available for women to get over this pricky situation.
Make sure all of the stuff thats used in the process is neatly disposed off. That's nature's cry and common sense !!!
Demanding loos for women is not just waste of an idea, but also a drain on the exchequer.
Ideas for life for all lovely women on Intl Womens Day. Cheers.

Tsomo85 said...

Gee when I was growing up I used to think I'm a genius by being able to hold urine forever just because I hate using public restroom. Until one fine day my mom found this out & she start lecturing me just the same way Dr.Nawalkar did. haha Since then I never once hold myself, I mean now it has come to the point that its impossible. Once I even broke the record on way to (INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES) in Shimla by making my hubby dear watch man. Thank god, its remote & nobody seem to be there so I got saved by their mother nature. HAHAHAHA I'm kalashhhhhhhhhhhhhh now.

Tsomo85 said...

And yeah tyte pix! Doesn't even seem like 2 generation at all.

durgs said...

Such an amazing observation: the corporate bladder!

chhipa said...

All cute girls together..:)


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Sushma Harish -Nee Kallianpur said...

Appreciate the thought and am overwhelmed with the way you put things on paper, Ms.De. You are so inspiring.
This one has been just well summed up. The corporate bladder indeed.

sush on sushmaspage.blogspot

Pooja Rathore said...

congratulations dost! iam very happy that you are one among 50 most influential women wow! more power to you and i know you will do your best.
Mr de is right ,i have high regards for him.On my vision board, i have pasted something very wise said by Mr de which you have mentioned in your book selective memory -"people make mistakes when tide is either very high or very low thats when panic sets in the trick is to wait out those periods wait for a calmer sea .Answers and solutions automatically follow"- Dilip de
i remember this when things are not going my way and it has worked for me.
Right to Pee an important right like any other fundamental right , the problems you have discussed are true , i remember sometime back you stressed on women toilets for rural girls ( stating most avoid school bcoz no toilets) there have been moves but nothing marked iam happy you wrote about this problem its serious and if nothing is done by us(its mistake to rely on others)there will be serious consequences to our health.
nice picture your daughters look lovely and healthy but my vote is for you i just cant take my eyes from your smile it brings instant smile on my face ..lots of love and feel great to have you as a friend.Best of luck for "sethji".

Divya Virmani said...

OMG, this is like the biggest and the ridiculous problem all over the world. Holding your bladder makes it so hard that you cannot enjoy or concentrate on anything you are involved in...ugh!
I certainly demand the right to pee [only in clean loo's]...

The pic is smashing! Seriously, let the secret out... :P

cmpershad said...

I think Avantikka is nearest to MOM in looks !!? It was water loo in DC today:)

Rahul Kumar Paliwal said...

Congrats Mam on coming top 50 ......

A beutiful family!!!

NAT said...

Shobha,

A very good and healthy Family. Where are the boys? Oh it' Woman's Day...
Awakening the people, whether woman or man to demand/request for their rights is a tough job.
They would rather bear the suffering, than open their mouth.

Manasi Dhanorkar said...

I was hoping to meet you at Aastha's Faces Competition today.. Very disappointed that you didn't come..
hope you're having a wonderful time with your grand daughter.
Thank you for choosing my entry as one of the top 10

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shreya said...

i agree with you completely. The sad thing is as a woman you are actually 'trained' to control all your bodily urges???
Men are not even fined for messing up public properties. Its ok. Why? There should be claen public loos at decent intervals in the cities for both men and women. Will solve our problem and will stop men from watering any plant they see.

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P said...

You hit it right on the spot Maam. Just the other day i refused a retail job where everything was good except the biggest challenging area, the loo and i actually expressed my inability and also clearly specified my reasons for the same but strangely, i was met with a scowl.Worse, i was made to feel, i was making up excuses to not take up the job..ha ha ha.Wish these men could be on our shoes and experience the discomfort.I hope the govt makes it mandatory to build loos across the country. We women deserve to "pee" in a neat n clean loo. Hope someone is listening.

Madhu said...

You girls are looking awesome.
My hubby didnt even remember this day :sigh:

drukmo said...

Your family pic needs a caption. How about " A family with nice shades stay together and look good together".

On the all important issue of toilets for women, how about forming a Mahila Loo Samaj Party? lol
Love all the way from Van city, your tibetan blog dost :)

harish said...

wonderful. Loved reading this.

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Tsomo85 said...

Tashi Delek Drugmo! Happy belated Losar.
I'm Tibetan too. I wan follow your blog but somehow I'm having trouble with it. Can you please give me some direction here. Drugmo means girlfriend in Tibetan right? Any ways, I totally agree with your comment. hahaha

Tsomo85 said...

Drugmo: It was fun reading your losar thought. You have completely stole my thoughts about "rather be Draupadi than Sita." (FIRE)'s are HOT! HAHAHA Love it! Jokes apart...May be that's why she never went to heaven, unlike sita. haha Shobha ji so sorry for using your blog spot, I was just so happy to see Drugmo on your blog.

Nayanika said...

You got lucky, facilities for doctors in public hospitals are as appalling as public toilets. A country can never be a power when its women cannot even get a clean toilet.

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Satish Ashtaputre said...

Madam De , u have touched a right chord on right of women for a clean public toilet,on women's day.But u seem to have taken up this vexed issue quite late as I was expecting it to come from ur end much before.
Even we men r facing this problem.Urinating in d open is not a pleasure for anybody but there is no choice especially in winter seasons. seeing d horrible conditions of toilets at railway stations,sulabh shauchalayas ; where v all have to go? Nowadays; I myself prefer to go to d Malls as there r ample no.of clean toilets over there.
Last month here in Charkop wherein v had a meeting/public function with local M.P. Mr.Sanjay Nirupam;d demand for public urinal was put before him by local people which was okayed by him in front of MHADA & B.M.C. personnel (out of his M.P.funds)
Imagine, a locality of @ 4-5 lacs people (where I reside i.e.Charkop,Kandivali west) does not have a single public toilet then what must be d condition of rural folks?
All men & women should take up this issue on top priority with World Health Organisation (W.H.O.)and insist that it gets implemented vigorously.

goodluck said...

I know many ladies who just refuse to travel unless it is absolutely necessary due to this loo problem. Even school children face this problem, lack of clean toilets even in upwardly mobile schools. Many children and adults develop kidney stones problems and other ailments storing toxic substances in their bodies for long periods. Even men face this problem. Long distance bus journeys are hell. Till then, consume less water, consume no food, keep raisins or peppermints to quench the thirst, use adult diapers to avoid disasters before undertaking a longish journey.

billgates said...

How do you find so many words to write where there is hardly anything worth it?

drukmo said...

Tsomo85 thanks for the message. Here's the link http://drugmo.wordpress.com/

Hope you have no trouble now :)

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Abhishek said...

After reading your post I realize that the situation is worse than I had thought!! It is a very important issue and does need immediate attention otherwise International Womens' Day is futile!

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arvi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arvi said...

I completely agree with you on lack of loos for women especially in India and the ordeal they have to go through on daily basis. But its not only the women, men too suffer from such problems though their suffering is not as acute as in the case of women. I personally feel embarassed asking for a loo if I am at someone else' place, cannot go to dirty public loos, feel very conscious peeing in the public-streets, trees whatever. Once I was with a group of friends in Delhi during winters. It was 7 pm in the evening and pitch dark as the road we were walking on had no street lights. Just then one of us felt the urge to pee followed by two or three more of them including me. Being always conscious of my surroundings I refused to pee by the roadside like other guys because there were cars passing through with women passesngers in them.

There was a small vacant plot with lots of treest and wild bushes by the road side. I decided to go in there to relieve myself. Barely had I unzipped my pants when a woman (squatting there) who I couldnt see because of blinding darkness started hurling all kinds of abuses at me! I ran back to my friends only to be laughed at by them as they all saw and heard what happened and the abuses too.

Everybody had a good laugh at me and although I was smiling outside deep down I was really scared!

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