What India thought of day before yesterday, the cluster of civilisations known to us as ‘the West’ are thinking of today. Just when we were getting all riled up about people urinating on the streets, we hear the Brits are encouraging their folks to unzip and let it flow in the great outdoors. The National Trust of Britain isn’t using any kind of cultural argument to push its agenda. And how can it, considering that, at least, urban-dwellers (barring the lot who make their annual pilgrimages to music festivals like the one held in Glastonbury) lost the habit of public urination since the Great Hygiene Turnaround that followed the Industrial Revolution.
As suspected by some of us busy unclogging pipes here in India, these ‘naturalists’ with a twist want people to urinate in the open to save the world from — well, of course! — global warming. The more we take a piss in the privacy of our bathrooms, the more we end up flushing the lavatory, thereby ‘wasting’ water. Hollywood, always ahead of the game whether it’s Free Tibet or freely pee, has already advocated, through the good office of Cameron Diaz, the practice of peeing in gardens and parks while they’re taking a shower. Now comes the British urgings.
So should bladder-happy (male) Indians still stop in their tracks before letting it loose? Or should we go the other way to underline our inherent differences with ‘Western practices and culture’ and start urinating in private and public lavatories with a vengeance? After all, we are proud people who feel pressures of our own.