You cannot have small bladder if you are a woman

Journey across Bengaluru city on a whim is a thing of the past. Jammed roads have necessitated planning. What used to take 15 minutes can stretch to an hour on a bad day. A fallout of crowded streets that’s seldom discussed is the issue of nature’s call while you are on road for long periods. This especially gets trickier if you are a woman.

Loo-breaks too need to be planned. City’s walls and trees are of little use if you are a woman. Yes, there are a little over hundred Nirmala pay and use toilets across the city. But most are poorly maintained and that only a weak bladder can dare to venture out there. The “luxury” toilet near Commercial Street is one such example. The last time I was there the toilet was flooded. I was assured it was clean water. But I was sure I needed tetanus shots. This after paying Rs 3.

The women’s wing of the public toilet opposite Mayo Hall is perpetually locked. I once saw a girl trying to get someone to open the locks for her. “Koi nahi aata hai madam” was the caretaker’s response. At the Majestic bus stand, you can smell the toilet from such distances that you decide to hold it in rather than risking it.

Very little thought goes into this fundamental need. Even if the toilet exists, it is not designed for a woman’s needs. Most women carry handbags. There is no provision to keep them dry and clean. They are forced to visit the toilets in twos to take care of this problem. There are no dustbins to collect sanitary disposables either. Let alone toilet paper!

With public toilets being almost inaccessible one has to get creative. Theatres and restaurants provide another means to relieve oneself. But they don’t come cheap. You are not welcome if you are not paying. I heard a group of young women at Rangashankara say, they have the cleanest loos on this side of the town and hence must use it. Such is the desperation.

Shopping malls that have sprouted across the city have had an unexpected outcome and no points for guessing that I am talking about toilets. They are fairly clean, accessible and you don’t even have to pay to use it. It is of course entirely possible that you will buy a pair of jeans for a thousand rupees while you are at the mall to use the toilet. Not exactly economical. But it is still the best option we have today.

So the next time you are out on the road take the route with the shopping malls. My guess is that this contributes substantially to the footfalls recorded in these malls.   ⊕

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About Padmalatha Ravi 41 Articles
Padmalatha Ravi is an independent journalist and filmmaker.


  1. Possible. Just need to build nice, large toilets underneath flyovers and have criminals in jails especially rapists, clean ’em. What better punishment for e’m than cleaning other people’s shit. They would them then think OPM = OPS (Other People’s Money Shit = Other People’s Shit). They will not steal for fear of foul smells. Less crime, better society.

    Please co-operate to adopt the Singaporean model. The collective Middle class sits on their as*, never shows serious initiative or any, in India. I did some activity seriously a progressive initiative for a nearly extinct intellectual community, will continue that when I land in India.

    If *only the middle class, if only* , for crying out loud, showed initiative in THIS MATTER putting aside differences, dynasty parties would never usurp power as history has shown since 1947. The middle class would have brighter shoes to wear, since them politicians would be polishing it.

    Then the clean Bangalore concept would be a reality.

    Jai Dharwada Kannada Mathe.
    Activist for, by, of – Pure Vedic culture.

  2. why dont u encourage private sector to build and maitain loos. infact SULABH is making profits.
    give them a piece of land on lease and thats it. r put a condition to all the builders in bangalore to build a specific number of loos. think of some innovative idea

  3. Completely agree. WE must ask BBMP what their plan is for toilets. They spend thousands of crores on flyovers, underpasses etc, can they spend a few crores and get some basic facilities like toilets in the city?

  4. Wow! I can so totally agree with this. If the situation in Bangalore is bad, that while traveling outside the city is worse. So bloody hard to get decent loos.

  5. I used to be amazed at the preponderance of females in Blore’s shopping malls. Cat is out of the bag now. Expect malls to introduce a cover charge for females wanting to enter in a hurry 🙂

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