By Suchi Gaur:
On a casual day while driving around the city of Delhi, one tends to notice many things: the endless traffic, the singles-doubles-families around, the lot of people that stare at you because you are a woman driving and the amazing stores-buildings-malls spread across the city. And still, out of these and many more categories what crosses your eye is the unhealthy sight of a man standing with his face towards a wall trying to release him self of what they call as the biggest pressure, most difficult to control ever. Yes, you are right: Peeing!
And as this happens, and no matter how much you hate yourself for having such a view catch your eye, the man suddenly looks back and smiles at you. The smile, that for once might send shivers down your spine. The smile, that makes you ashamed of having looked at it. The smile, welcome to the city of Public Peeing Perverts! And while this might sound a bit exaggerated, this is the gross reality!
Recently, while driving down to a mall nearby, what caught my eye made me disgusted enough to pen down my thoughts on why men peeing in public needs to be taken up as a serious offence. An offence that calls for all the women (and men, if they would like to kill their temptation of peeing in public) to come together and do something about this social menace which is not just an unpleasant sight but also a sexual offence. So, as I explain you the few minutes of that day, I am sure you would come up with a version of yours, an experience you have had that made you feel disgusted. Shared or not shared ever with anyone, that’s another side of the story.
And while I was driving around with my mother to the nearby place, a car full of women was just in front of me. The road being a little out of shape, the speed was slower than usual. And there he was, the man casually urinating. And so, while generally the situation has a man standing facing towards the wall, in this particular instance; the man stood facing towards the road, showing his private parts to the women in the car right in front of me, smiling (what I call the most devilish smile I have seen) and shaking his heart out (you get what I mean!).
And as this happened, the women in the car turned their faces towards the other side (what anyone of us would do!). The irritated social moron that I am, I slowed further and rolled down the window to shout at the man, applauding him (I literally clapped) on what he just did. To my own disgust, the shame factor being absent for this man, he smiled back again. With a sad look of my face (from what the city is heading to), I drove ahead as my mother shouted at me for doing what I had just done. Needless to say, the argument with my mother later on my reaction made me realize how women, no matter how terrible a sight this is for them, try to shun the urge to do something about it because, lets face it: nothing can change.
And to my utter dismay, on a fifteen minutes drive, I saw this and some three other men peeing in public. Men of all categories: educated-uneducated. From one with Â a car to a rickshaw puller. All categories! And while I will be questioned on why I couldn’t just ignore it, I would say, I Cant! It’s a terrible sight for me and the smiling face of the man has been haunting me on how if we can stop such little acts of social disgust, how in the world will we work in making the city Rape-Free! And I am not exaggerating at all. There are two very strong arguments linked here: One is that of sanitation and hygiene, and the other is that of masculinity overdose, I must say both have a lot to do with males in the country.
Lets take sanitation first. While the Government’s sanitation and toilets initiative is on a roll since years, the agenda ever since has been to create toilets and not behavioral change. I am of the belief (as a social sector professional, and a human first) that if any act/law/policy has to be implemented in the country, the aim first has to be to target the root behavior. In this situation, we all would agree that the root problem in the country is the age-old practice of defecating and peeing outside in open. Women & men, in villages, both have done it! But men have been more open about it. And while the government works towards building more toilets in every household street in India, targeting the psychology is very important for creating socially acceptable behavior in this regard. There are two problems: Lack of (public) toilets and lack of an attitude towards NOT peeing in public. And as I blame the system for the first, I would blame each and every man for the second. And please don’t give me the argument on how uncontrollable it is. No matter what it does to you, you are not entitled to do it in open. Not only is it a terrible sight for the city’s civic look but also as a woman, I find it offensive.
The second argument is that of masculinity overdose. And while I describe this, I don’t care if I am taken up as a feminist or not. I simply fail to understand why it is that instead of finding a washroom, men find it better to just pull over and pee anywhere in the open. Day or night. Crowded or secluded. The fact that the idea to find a place to pee doesn’t cross their mind, or fails to stay there makes me realize that there is a strong need to change this very thought! And while I read about what laws are there to stop it in our country, the fact that it’s a worldwide menace made me realize not just the global prevalence but also how India seems to be a champion in this too. Males, whom I have questioned about it, said that no matter how women see it, they have to do it. I don’t see any logic in that, and yes, not even a medical logic. If you what to pee, find a toilet! Period! Don’t try to show me that thing, or be ready to face the consequences.
In November last year, a woman was killed because she tried to stop a man from peeing outside her house at night. This happened in Delhi. And while this might be one of a hundred cases, this is what fighting for something wrong does to a person in this country. They say that there is a fine for it. But tell me, when I see even police officers doing it, who will be held responsible for levying that fine on these men who find it rather amusing to look at women, smile and pee showing off their private parts as if it gives them a mental pleasure. Awful. This is the reality.
So, here while I described the problem, this is what I propose! As a person tempted to do something about it, I am going to start an initiative. And while I have no resources, only a student who feels strongly about it; A social-media-legal campaign is what is the need of the hour. While I start my journey towards this, I am opening up the floor for anyone who would like to volunteer for this noble cause. While take the poo to the loo is on a roll, its important to start “its your pee, I don’t want to see”.