Deja Vu — Squat Potties and Washing By Hand

Stay fit and don’t use toilet paper


Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

When I read about toilet paper shortage and all the fuss around those tiny rolls of paper, I allow myself a quick private laugh. Paul Hossfield talks about the complex math of minimizing toilet roll use. That prompted me to write about our toilet travails.


In India, we cannot conceive of using paper and being done with the big job. A potty-trained child is certified potty-trained only after it knows how to clean itself properly by hand using water!

We are also very clear about which hand does what. Since we are a nation of folks who relish our food and eat with our hands, it is critical to keep the eating hand and the washing hand separate. From our tiny tot days, we are taught to use the left hand for the poo cleaning and our right hand for eating.

We wash our hands extensively. Before meals. After meals. After poo, obviously. Way w-a-a-ay before the pandemic necessitated constant hand-washing, we had been trained in the art.


Then how the heck do we manage in western potty-only countries? It is quite the challenge, let me tell you. When we visited Finland a couple of years ago, the best thing about the trip was the fact that all toilets had running water. Aah! Bliss! Maybe they can afford this since they have thousands of lakes.

In other countries, sigh! Indians are known to take all kinds of extreme steps to mitigate the drought inside toilets in the civilized world. They are called washrooms, for God’s sake! What do we wash with???

So we drink soda from big bottles, fill it with water, and smuggle it into the toilet while no one is looking. And wash. Sweet relief! For the life of us, we cannot fathom how dry paper can replace running water.


But over the last decade, we have become more civilized. We use toilet paper and western potties. We’ve given up on our trusted Indian squat potties so that we can sit in comfort and read or catch up on queued-up videos while we do our daily jobs.

And then what do I discover? From Amy Culberg I learned people are now buying squat potties because it is good for health. Damn! We knew that all along. And forgot. We got swayed by shiny ads. Now those same ads will re-package and sell our squat potties back to us and we will rush to buy them! Aaargh!!

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