Personal hygiene may be important to you. If so, read on…
- Warning 1
Always, always, always take your own toilet-paper and torch with you in India. You are very likely to need to use a shopping-mall toilet and these are bound to have no paper and no lights.Remember your house of easement will have a ceramic hole in the ground, not a pedestal.
- If you’re very lucky, there will be a flush mechanism.
- If you’re merely lucky, there will be a bucket and tap so you can flush it manually.
- Usually there will be neither manual or mechanical flush options.
Then again, maybe you don’t want to see where you’re going. It will almost certainly be bad enough that you can smell it.
Of course, if you’re in a mountainous part of Kerala, you’ll have your torch with you anyway for picking your way along the tracks after dark.
- Warning 2
Indian english for ‘toilet’ is ‘bathroom’. I defy anyone to get a real bath in India. Usually you will wash by pouring water from a bucket over yourself with a tin or plastic mug. If you’re staying in a home*, your hosts may well heat your bucket of water for you.In hotels there are also showers as westerners know them, in the same room as the toilet [so wetting the seat is a real possibility]. I’ve only met two that give hot water but usually I’ve been glad of the cold.
On the whole, I’m enjoying these challenges. My major publishable, personal regret is not having learnt any Malayalam, Hindi or Tamil before coming here. Occasional withdrawal from soap-related activities is nothing compared to being in dire need of a bathroom and being unable to ask where to find one.
*If you are staying in a home, my limited experience suggests you will be treated like a god and have a fantastic time.