Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Loo Factor

Thanks to Delhi Belly ‘Shit’ is a Hit. And since human excreta is the flavor of the season ….oops, I mean the current topic let me declare that this post is all about yucky muck. Continue reading at your own peril, only if you are willing to face the stinking reality.

Wonderful. The water and sanitation minister Mr. Gurudas Kamat has resigned even before assuming office. Who needs drinking water and sanitation ministry? It’s like being the nation’s top sweeper. How degrading! Since we already have wonderful standards of hygiene, the focus for most is on meaty ministries like the civil aviation or the Railways. And they then slowly proceed to milk them and kill them the way a former aviation minister smothered Air India.

Last week while I was waiting for a friend at the New Delhi Railway station, a whiff of stench shook me in more ways than one. The stench wafting from the excreta on the tracks was a distressing enough. In a matter of seconds I went from exasperated to nauseated!

Indian Railways, which proudly associated itself with the CWG as the largest sponsor, showers human excreta across the length and the breadth of the nation in dollops. The efforts to create bio-toilets are yet to see light. Forget clean water, fresh food or a clean blanket, fecal aroma is guaranteed! Yes, the problem is compounded due to sheer volume of passengers. We couldn’t do anything in five decades. As a result the juggernaut continues to spray muck on the tracks.

Railway ministry is a wonderful tool to cultivate and nurture constituencies. Hygiene and safety can take a long holiday. Another great opportunity is a railway accident, like the recent Howrah Kalka Mail. Like vultures to bodies, sensitive political souls, all feasted and burped at the victim’s plight, some at the accident site while others at a Kanpur hospital. The vultures knew that the state was going to the polls soon. Shameless creatures! Vultures I mean.

A curious case of misplaced priorities is visible all around. I live in a place touted to be the Singapore of India – Gurgaon. Only, I was not aware that Singapore had long power cuts, cratered roads, piles of garbage and no sewage system in place. After the malls and skyscrapers have mushroomed, the city is grappling with waste disposal. Complexes with exotic names like Malibu Town are pumping sewage in their own rainwater harvesting plant constructed by the residents. Swirling sewage alongside roads is an open stinking reality. Let’s have Pod taxis on the lines of Heathrow; who needs sewage disposal?

Reading an article in the newspaper I was aghast to read that in Delhi, the national capital, forty percent of sewage flows untreated into the Yamuna. Along with it goes toxic medical waste. What are we drinking? Exactly what Morarji Desai prescribed for a long life, so why bother?

A documentary called ‘Fecal Attraction’ based on death of Yamuna had its producers asking random people two simple questions, “Where do you get the water from and where does your shit go?”

“I guess the water comes from the Yamuna. And the shit goes there only.”

“Hain shit? It goes somewhere automatically man…”

India generates 38, ooo million liters of sewage every day. And guess where it goes, untreated?.

When you say ‘it goes somewhere automatically man’, remember it goes to the water we drink and the carrots we nibble. Pardon me for taking the crunch away from your carrots.

The paradox of our times is that we do bigger things, but not better things. Hell, lay those sewer lines and build those waste disposal plants before expanding the infrastructure any further. Before building skyscrapers, elevated corridors for Pod taxis and before visiting Mars….
And don’t degrade the water and sanitation ministry Mr Kamath, the nation needs it more than any other.
If you thought drinking water was below your dignity, I am glad you resigned even before taking charge.

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  1. Eeks! Movie showed what Delhi sanitation actually is. It is hard to believe how much did govt. covered during CWG. We must credit them.

  2. Someday shit will hit the fan - then we will have a mass movement to clean up our shit, protests to increase fasts,to lessen shit.(Considering the number of people resorting to fasts,we just might have lesser shit to deal with.! ) Then how can we miss out a scam shit.There will be ten thousand gazillion litres (or kilos?) of scam shit floating around.Finally, we will have candle light shit. All shitting peacefully,in an organized way.

    Well witten article so couldnt help but add my shit.

  3. Alka.....i have not seen the movie....waiting for sanjay....:-)

    Great one.....damn...loved it so much.

    Actually Rahul Gandhi requested him to look into a malfunctioning latrine.....:P

  4. Oh wow. Oh yuck. I am going to come back to this post after watching Delli Belly. Shit, really?

    And those are some informative facts you have put up. And your say of course is always amusing.

    Reading this blog is enriching my general knowledge. Thanks. I know how you take up topics that others won't.

  5. @Prateek...Sanitation is such a basic issue,which has been neglected so far....

    @Gyanban....I do appreciate the anger...Thanks for reading.

    @Shalini...Thanks dear.

    @Zeba...Wow, it means a lot.Thanks.

  6. Jyoti said...Sanitation and proper treat of water is one of the biggest problem India is facing.... but our venerated minister and responsible authorities as u said " are busy in making India big" :D
    There was a sarcastic smile on my face when I wrote that.

    Very apt post... keeping in mind the population we flourish Sanitation( which no on can escape) needs urgent attention.

    Thanks Drinking water and sanitation is a very important ministry which sadly no one is willing to take charge of.

  7. RACHNA SAID ...Sanitation is one of India's biggest problem. Alka.....this post was not for the faint hearted, but it showed the grim reality in its true colours. Yes, waste disposal plants are the need of the hour and not pod taxis and other crap which the majority won't be able to afford. What is badly needed is thje basic amenities, not glitzy stuff.

    Thanks, well said

  8. ZEPHYR SAID...You echo what I have always maintained. Unless we have the basic amenities for the masses, no amount of fancy infrastructure and global extravaganzas can mask the grim scenario. The rich-poor divide is stark and unbridgeable in this one thing. Why talk of others? And while we laugh at the Delly belly jokes while delicately stopping our noses, it is a daily trauma for the poor people.

    @Zephyr...There is some problem in my comment section. I am receiving ur comments in the mail box but not on the blog.

  9. PURBA SAID>>>These are things we'd rather not know. Our water has sewage, veggies are pesticide laced, medicines have serious side-effects. Who cares?

    If all this angst could be turned into a projectile - Mr Kamath will be a dead man.

    Mr Kamath I hope you are reading this!

    @PURBA...I hope so too.

  10. though havn't seen the movie yet, but can imagine the situation, thanks to our authorities who never leave any chance to make things like hell.


  11. ewwwwwwwwww!
    totally gross. in chennai v don even hav proper public washrooms n evrywhr dere r ppl jus at it. its sick!
    n v r actually goin in fr metro rail!
    ur soo soo rite.
    logic n common sens has been totally burnt down

  12. We've been drinking the same waters since ages. The only difference is that earlier nature had a natural filter to it, and now, it's all paved up in concrete and tar. Modernization of material world has taken place, alas, human bodies have failed to adapt.

    Nice post.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  13. it's not the byproduct of our metabolism, but the byproducts of our civilization that scares me more...shit fertilizes the soil i guess...birds do it in open, animals do it in open, human beings have done it in open since they were born...its the radioactive wastes, chemicals and plastics that scares me...

    great post...


  14. It was my mistake to read it before dinner and now I am not so sure I want to have dinner! What do you say if I read it every day before dinner, I can finally reduce the flab? :)

  15. no plans to see the movie.
    thanks for warning but still i read it.
    yes i agree with Sunil one should read before dinner if want to reduce flab

  16. even if you put Pranab Mukherjee in the same ministry it won't matter much.. they all are crooks.

    Nice yucky read :D

    Weakest LINK

  17. ..Wow! good insight..
    I didn't know that,But yes I agree before getting into mall and sky scrapers or copying west ..the basic infrastructure should not be ignored!

  18. I know, no one cares about sanitation, safety, railways and the list is endless...

  19. @Irfan, Sadiya, Anshul....

    The neta log want meaty ministries and its sad that no one wants to work for providing drinking water and sanitation.
    Thank you for reading.

  20. @SUB...Its the untreated shit flowing in the Yamuna which is a worry...Also the muck Railways sprays along the length and breadth of the country. My angst was against the minister who declined the drinking water ministry.

  21. brilliant write! the rage comes through with a force that makes the reader want to get up and bash the powers that be!!

  22. @Sunil Deepak...

    Welcome here. I am glad you found humor in my yucky post. The idea is brilliant and i have a mind for trying it myself. Will let you know if it worked.
    Thanks for reading. It means a lot.

  23. @sm...You wont miss much. Just a few mindless laughs.And yes, Sunils idea is brilliant...:)

    @Rachit...You are so right.


    @Deepak...Thats exactly how I feel Deepak when I see open sewer next to my appts...Its a shame that after 6 decades we dont have clean drinking water and the minister considers it below his dignity to take charge of his portfolio.

  24. sad stsate of our country and sadder is the greed of the people we chose to lead us into the new era .. I dont know when the greed will stop..
    how much more do they want

    Loved the way you have written .. God help us

  25. probably thats y thngs like 'delhi belly' or 'tropical sprue' are seen more commonly amongst the foreigners who visit India...coz we have been acclimatized to the dirt around us. inhaling it, drinking it,eating it and then spreading it like crap around us too!

    The only reason why i'd still thnk my stars is coz atl east i am getting water to drink, there r many who struggle even for that basic necessity in d same country.
    I wish some morons would realize that.sigh.


  26. it really is a sad n sorry n shitty state of affairs-and great to see you voicing your contempt so effectively Alks..i guess nothing and no one is pure anymore-sigh!:-/

  27. yucky, mucky post1! But sure shit is a hit here!
    I haven't seen the movie! How much we brag about the increasing economy and india's infrastructure, but if we boil it down, it sucks! Hygeine and safety god....Where on earth are you...Why did you not bother about india!!

  28. @Bikram...Its going nowhere.



    @Vaish...Clean drinking water, uninterrupted power, motorable roads is what we need more than anything.Honestly, I did not get your point.Thanks for reading anyway.

  29. Hah! very cool way to vent it out..it leaves me thinking abut water bodies, beaches,etc. exactly, how do we process sewage or do we really? what i am drinking is whatever i've been ____ ??
    absolutely loved the way u put it here - the nation's top sweeper!!
    yeah, none of our ministers want portfolio's that are necessary for the development of our country, everybody wants 'meaty' stuff..so that their road to being PM gets even close (past trends show that)
    Kissa kursi ka ;)

  30. Very interesting indeed...our authorities are very visionary and lets give due credit to them...i mean even nasa astronauts drink their own pee or a treated version of tat ..the visionary part only applies to the recycle part...treatment can happen...mayb after another century :)

  31. @Jagdish bali...I visited your blog yesterday and hope to visit regularly.Thanks for reading.

    @OldFox..When its neta -log the anger comes out in full force...cant help it.;)

    @Indias no 1....Ha, ha I never thought about that.....There is no political will, its as simple as that. Thanks for reading.

  32. did u send this article to any newspaper/magazine? this is one worth reading!

  33. @Sawan...Thats very kind of you Sawan. I used to send my posts and letters to the papers a few years back.
    1. They have their political inclinations and so they edit of parts which they dont like.
    2. They only print 100 words letters to the editors and anything more than 100 words is an article which goes to their dustbins.Only their own writers or people known to them can get thoughts inked.
    3.This blog provides me the freedom to air my thoughts and I am happy with readers like yourself. Thank You for reading.

  34. Hi Alka,

    Hmm thats the reality , the system itself is corrupt this much that its spreading almost everywhere , nothing remain we used to call pure ..all is contaminated and unhygienic , In this case it remind me of my native place where ..water comes from natural source and its to the purest form , looking @ metros its just disgusting to know there is no system ...even to add to it ..in out office one day a sewage water was supplied in the tank ...later one reported then the tanks were washed ...and from that day it hard to believe.

    If this is the state of capital ,what can we expect from other areas...

    nice article ..i would recommend you to send it to PM ...really ..to know how ppl are living life ..w/o water... and hygiene ..

  35. You've got it right, SHIT is the crux of India. I recently watched the final half of the final part of the Harry Potter saga where the protagonists keep hunting for horcruxes of Vlodemort. I guess if we were to hunt for horcruxes of our nation, we will have to start scouring shit! If it sounds far-fetched, please remember, Ganga, Yamuna et al are supposed to be mother(s) to this land and now their very souls are choking with shit.

  36. @Vivek....There is no political will, Vivek....why would any minister hesitate to take over the task of providing water and sanitation? Very sad and unfortunate.

    @Umashankar....Ganga and Yamuna will be drains ten years down the line and water will be the most imp issue after land.But who wants to see the future... only 3 yrs left for UPA to make more money from meaty ministries.

  37. Hi,

    I had already read this before...and quite frankly...found it a fantastic satirical piece..that I could not help having a chuckle or two :)

  38. Alka,

    Very hardhitting and truthful post. But I have serious doubts if this will get past thick skin of those responsible for planning.

    Take care

  39. @Kunnu....Thank you indeed.

    @Jack.....I know. Sometimes I feel like a barking dog on my blog and no one listens. The feeling however is cathartic.