Hell of a Smell! #Toilets #Mumbai #TrainStation

Disgusting is the word!! I should be the change I want to see. So I better start with a mop and phenyl. Is this what it’s come to? Should I get into that public toilet and start mopping because the company hired to do their job won’t?

I am grateful to the Government for providing us with the facility of public toilets. A few States in our country still crave for the sight of this private room. I however just want to point out the obvious stench.

I particularly speak about Train Stations in Mumbai

Mumbai train stations have been beautifully painted as part of the project – Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan. It was amazing to watch the artists paint so skilfully. The vibrant colors used are a sight for sore eyes. My nose however, can’t smell its efforts. Here’s why…

A Stench of Blasphemy

So this stench of urinating blasphemy is something you can’t run away from? The saddest part is that there are those around who just don’t care. If you are a cleanliness freak or if you simply are a scent lover and a frequent use of deodorants, I recommend you to never travel by Mumbai locals. As soon as you step onto a station platform, you are going to experience a ‘hell of smell’ that will burn your nostrils.

Here is the other part. You want to walk away from it as fast as you can but you can’t. There are those around who just don’t care. They’ll walk with about the same speed as if they were strolling in a garden. What’s even worse is you’d think you can overtake them but you really can’t. It’s always too damned crowded. Mumbai Walkers!!

Here’s how it starts

While I get off the train; I manage to scrape myself out through the crowd of women who are waiting at the platform in order to barge in. Once I do, I find myself grappling for fresh air which I do not get. This is because there is an immediate public toilet standing right there in front of the compartment that I get down from, welcoming me to its death-calling urinating stench. I manage to dodge the people standing pointlessly in my way but to no avail because the smell has already killed me inside.

If you are not a train traveller in Mumbai or for that matter Indian; you should know that these toilets are open toilets. This means they are closed enough to not let anyone take a peek inside but open enough to let the smell out.

Here’s what I do

What I eventually do is hold my breath until I am away, at a safe distance from the deathly hallows of the platforms’ open-ended, ghost-killing toilet. I have a quick pace. As a result, I tend to breathe harder while I walk. I still have to eventually breathe but of the slow-paced people around me are incomprehensible.

What I get is the smell of stale urine and deep fried vada pav from the food stall. Yes! There’s a food stall five steps away from the toilet.

My nostrils and my lungs – they hate me but little do they know. I need to do something to change this. If I want change, I need to be one. So, if I don’t want these toilets to stink then what should I do?

On my way to the stations’ superintendent

“There’s nothing I can do,” He said sympathetically, “because I have complained several times and have even fined the company that’s been hired on a contract basis for cleaning these toilets.”

I asked, “Is there anything I can do? Is there anyone I can address in regards to this situation?”

The conversation ended with the superintendent’s helpless reply, “I’ll send another complaint but that’s all I can do for now.”

I walked away with a thank you because at least he responded and didn’t push me off. The superintendent, like many of us, are helpless in situations such as these. Who do we approach? What can we do about it? Can we even spare the time in order to do something about these stinky toilets?

How do we cure this hell of a smell?