Sunday, June 24, 2012

How to use a western toilet

This post aims at giving a general and basic idea about usage of the ‘Western Toilet’ or the ‘pot’ and most importantly, how to wash up after it’s done! The idea might seem funny but I thought this post would make sense in the context of most Indians (read Asians) who have always used the Indian type of the toilet (read squat toilet) and have often wondered (if not dreaded by) how it worked with the Western Toilet. At the same time, I am pretty sure, there is quite a majority of us who have used it for some time now, initially found it rather very uncomfortable, and often felt difficult and embarrassed when we had to use the Western Toilet in hotels, trains or friends’ homes. We could somehow understand how to get the work done but couldn’t really imagine how to clean up afterward.
“How the hell does any one wash?” we asked ourselves but never asked anyone as we felt that would be too embarrassing. If your thoughts are on the same lines…. Read through to get enlightened!

If you don’t want too much detail, you can scroll down to the ‘Now here is how‘ section for a quick guide. Or you can read on at leisure!

To start with, let’s look at a few reasons why we chose the Western Toilets to replace the Indian ones:
1.Why not Indian? The Indian toilet requires the user to squat to empty his bowels. That might not seem to be a problem really, we’ve been doing it ever since and it’s more natural. But, having to assume this posture gets very difficult and painful particularly as we age and our knees start hurting. On the other hand using the Western Toilet is as simple as sitting on a chair. Well almost!

2.Installation: Most often, at least in the cities, what we call the ‘bathroom’ isn’t just a place only for bath but it includes the loo too. The Western Toilet occupies (at least hypothetically) lesser space than its Indian counterpart. While the latter has to be installed on the floor requiring special arrangement in the flooring in addition to the drain arrangement; the Western one needs a proper drain and that’s all. There isn’t much of a difference in the way the flush is connected to both though.

3.Maintenance and aesthetics: The Western Toilet generally comes with a lid which means not only better looks but also, if it isn’t in use for a while, dust is kept off. Not just that, the toilets are generally not too separated from the bath area and occasionally when the bathing soap bar slips off our hands; it inevitably lands in the pit of the toilet, you have lost at least one soap in that fashion haven’t you? The soap can’t be retrieved for one, but there is a chance of the toilet drain getting blocked. Isn’t the Western Toilet with the lid better?
Those are a few reasons why slowly people moved to using the Western Toilets. But yet, there a lot of us who are reluctant to use them, reason might simply be that we don’t know how to use them, or it’s embarrassing to ask and find out. The Western Toilets don’t come with a user’s guide!

Okay. Before we see ‘how’, lets look at ‘what‘. We’ve seen them at least, if not used them. Haven’t we? Apart from the pot arrangement to sit on, the Western Toilets come with a few other things.

•Lid for the pot, we’ve already discussed about.

•A supporting seat (lid-with-a-hole) that covers the seam of the pot; this comes in between the lid and the pot; it provides for better seating as compared the bare pot which usually has a thin seam.

•A flush tank behind. Wont talk much about it in this context though it has quite a bit of mechanism associated!

•A toilet paper roll holder, of course with toilet paper roll.

•An optional hand-tap for washing.

The Indian version & Western - The lids, the seat, the hand tap assembly and the hand tap.

Now here is ‘how‘:

Without the hand tap: The usual case, most Western Toilet arrangements we see wont have the hand tap; instead, we see either a bucket + mug or just a mug under the tap. So how wash with just a mug? This is the big question this post primarily attempts to answer.

•Finish your potty (essentially the thing that you went to the pot for, in the first place).

•After you finish, move yourself a little forward, just enough to allow for your hands to move behind you.

•Take a mug of water in your right hand; take it behind you (you’d have to use some imagination eh!) over the pot, so that you’d be able to empty it into the pot.

•With your left hand wash it off pouring water out of the mug.
With the hand tap: As you could already imagine, use the hand tap instead of the water mug.

With the toilet paper: I would say “Save paper”.

In my personal experience, I have come across people who did terrible things to clean up after using the Western Toilet. Some thought they could qualify to join the great ‘Bombay Circus’ if they practiced washing up after potty on the Western Toilet. Some did not use it at all, and you know what that meant! I thought this write-up would help.

Lets not be satisfied with just this amount of knowledge about the innovation called the Western Toilet, lets go a little further.

Here are a few tips for it’s installation:

1.Choose the right most area of the ‘bathroom’ to install the Western Toilet. 

2.Install the tap in such a way that it is easily accessible by your right hand, without requiring you to move too much.

3.Arrange for enough room around the pot to allow for comfortable movement of your hands around.

4.Install a hand tap. A good one comes for around 500 Rupees. The hand tap comes very handy, while you wont have to wet the floor spilling water from the mug.

5.If possible, arrange the flush tank lever (you press it to flush the pot) such that it comes under your right hand instead of it being behind and inaccessible when you’re seated.

I hope this post made an interesting read. Have pleasant loo-goings!

by: alphonso

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