Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gopal Bhaar and the Mobile Toilets

This article caught my attention today. It should be a big help for long-suffering denizens of Dhaka, although the number of toilets, 50, seems miniscule for 10 million people. Kudos to those who will make it happen.

But Tk.5 for defecating and Tk 2 for urinating? Reminds me of the old Gopal Bhaar story. Is someone going to be standing with a big stick to beat them up if they try to cheat?

Given our penchant for creating distinctions between people based on class, is there going to be a VVIP model, a VIP model and a Business and Economy model? The mind boggles at the possibilities.

And you know those signs on the back of cars here, things like, "Engaged in Important Export Duty", "Under Land Ministry", "Belongs to the Legal Counsel for the XX Minister", and the ubiquitous "Press"? Are we going to have similar signs for the potties? What will they say?

What would one advertise? Let's see... perfumes? lungis? Pepto-bismol? Or Ishobguler Bhushi?

Is there an exhaust-free CNG model in the works?

(Gopal Bhaar - the court jester for King Krishnachandra - story goes like this: one day a sentry arrived at Gopal's house and sat down to defecate on his lawn. Gopal ran out of the house and asked him to stop. The sentry said, "The King has ordered that I s**t on your lawn - so what can I do? Neither you nor I can disobey a king's direct order." Gopal asked him to wait a second, went inside the house and returned with a big stick. Then he positioned it like a baseball bat over the sentry. The sentry said "What are you doing?" Gopal said "The Kind only ordered you to s**t and said nothing about urinating. So if you urinate on my lawn while carrying out your assignment, I will kill you. Mutechho ki morechho." And so the sentry gave up and left. )

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