Viners, it’s time to talk turkey toilets. We can’t let you venture into a Bangalorean bathroom unprepared, so no ifs, ands or butts: the Vine guide you need to know when you, well, need to go.
THE BUM GUN
This is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Well, for as long as you are on an Indian toilet, at least. Doubling up as orifice and bowl cleaner, this useful gadget will be one of the things you miss when you leave Bangalore (yes, really – how unhygienic are toilet brushes now you think about it?)
Warning, these things are powerful, so channel your inner Clint Eastwood and aim well. Whispering ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’ is optional.
Bring Your Own Tissues. Always. Culturally, of course, Bangaloreans think it’s kind of gross to use paper (smearing ain’t clearing) and there is a certain eco-argument to not killing a whole tree for one wee. Then again, nothing is more of a downer than a successful session with the bum gun and then wondering how you’re going to drip dry the hell out of here. There is the question of what to do with the toilet paper afterward; most Western toilets can handle the flush, but if there’s a bin by the bowl and you’re in squat territory, use it.
NB Whatever you decide to do, avoid wearing white at all costs
TO SQUAT OR NOT TO SQUAT
This is not the question since unless you are a pee ninja, you should always go for the high bowl. But if you’re caught with just the squat option, use the following steps:
Find somewhere to hang your trousers/skirt and strip your hindquarters completely. Let’s minimise the grossness count. Keep your toilet paper within arm’s reach.
Find the footpads handily marked on the outer side of the toilet and try not to think of what else has been there.
Take a deep breath, embrace your inner yogi and SQUAT.
Do what you need to.
There will usually be a bucket of water nearby; don’t even think about it. Use your paper.
Stand up sloooowly and smile with satisfaction.
Don’t forget to dress your nether regions again
Check for stains and wash your hands.
GOD, I HOPE THAT’S WATER
There’s an odd tradition of dousing the entire toilet with water, which makes sense if you’re never going to have contact with the seat (see squatting, above). This is clearly meant to be clean but will leave you with a queasy feeling and wondering if it’s the water that’s yellow or if magnolia ceramic is back in mode… Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink unless you want to come down with typhoid.
DON’T LET THE RIGHT KNOW WHAT THE LEFT IS DOING
The reason why the left hand is considered dirty in India is because in the old days, it probably was. Water replaces loo roll and before the days of the bum gun, you’d have to get pretty intimate with the cleaning. You can see how you’d want to avoid using the same hand to mop up a mutton masala.