Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

Urine-nation Loading

It’s common on certain Indian by-lanes for men to stand lined up against walls, emptying their bladders. In my entire lifetime, I’ve never seen a single woman beside them, with her leg cocked up against a tree or such like. For that I am glad, but I would’ve been even happier if I wasn’t privy to all the men relieving themselves in full public view as well.

Men (regardless of whether they have access to clean toilets at home), when confronted with a full bladder, have always had this more-or-less socially acceptable recourse. ‘Poor guy, he really needed to go!’

The only option our sex have is to sit tight and think fervently of other things; anything other than water, fountains, taps and yes — our need to pee; as much as the men. All through school, college (blechy, blechy toilets!) and sometimes during my years of working outside the home (blatant mismanagement of bladder breaks) it was a matter of routine for me to burst into the house shedding bags and dupattas en route to the bathroom. Just between you and me, it was a hit and miss thing sometimes, especially if I’d wasted crucial time hopping on my door mat scouring an oversized bag for house-keys.

I don’t think any Indian man has ever had to leave it till such a point.

An elderly female relative of mine loves to travel. She’s been to some really out-there places in the world. Now that she’s had knee-replacement surgery she simply goes to all the places that have wheelchair access. Nothing much fazes her as long as she can keep moving. But when she’s travelling within the country, her constant question for any sightseeing destination is “Will it have clean toilets? Or toilets at all?” When she visits us and the answer is, regrettably ‘no’, we tamely go to a restaurant instead; our spirit of adventure completely dampened.

You see where I’m going with this? This is just another way that we’re less free than men. When they call us the ‘weaker’ sex, they certainly don’t mean our bladders; which are evidently made of cast iron.

My solution to the restroom problem has always been to simply not drink water from the moment a trip is planned. It’s certainly healthier than having to enter the cesspits that pass as public bathrooms in this country. I have no idea what will happen once my bladder loses some of its retention power. Adult diapers perhaps?

Now the more pressing issue is what to do about the tiny tot. While she was in diapers we moved around without a care in the world. Unfortunately, she now falls into the blessed ‘another Indian woman who might need to go susu outside the home, but will bloody well have to hold it like everyone else’ category.

I suspend her precariously over the seat making sure no part of her touches any part of the public toilet. But after trying earnestly for a few seconds, she demands to be put down. This is of course out of the question, so I put a diaper on her and ask her to go in it.

She thinks I’m crazy for asking her to do exactly the opposite of what I’ve trained her to do. But she thinks I’m crazy anyway, so no harm done.

I hear there’s a sanitizing spray that some mothers use on public toilet seats. I might give it a go, because she might rebel at the idea of diapers when she’s 16.

But I also hear there’s a cool invention that allows a woman to pee standing up like her more fortunate brethren.

I can train her to graduate directly to those if she continues to insist (quite irrationally, I think) to empty her bladder when it gets full.

All these new-fangled techniques besides, I will of course train her extensively in the ancient, traditional methods of dehydration, ‘think-desperately-of-other-things’ and of course, when all else fails — ‘the-drop-everything-and-dash-home-wildly’.

Read Of Modified Funnels, Filters and More for more funny user experiences of women’s hygiene products.




Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of SiyaWoman.com. She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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