A handbook to consider

Dec 01, 2011, 09:54 IST | Correspondent

Funny man Cyrus Broacha's new book, The Average Indian Male, to be released this week, attempts to offer readers a glimpse into the Indian male psyche. Divided in two parts, the first is an epistolary exploration of various 'common' problems ailing the Indian man, the other offers a series of essays based on nothing more than the author's own meandering experiences (we hope)

From Book One: Letters from the Anguished Soul and Other Narratives

Dear Uncle,
I'm writing to you because I've heard of your age and wisdom, that too from my carpenter. Yes, that's right, we share a carpenter, and Vishwa Karma tells me that while he fixed your cabinet, you fixed his marriage, and although he can never forgive you for that, he still speaks of your wisdom and vision. Uncle, recently I married a boy of my parents' choice, and although he's kind to me, and allows me full use of the TV remote, I find his bathroom usage extremely disgusting. 

Where should I begin? Look, I understand males all over the world forget to put the seat down, but his urine is sprayed all over the rubber pot. I sometimes even find it in the flush. Secondly, he wets the entire bathroom after taking a shower, and he always, always, leaves his wet towel on our bed. Please help! And, Uncle, how much did you pay Vishwa Karma for your cabinet? I found 30,000 to be a little steep just for fixing our table lamp stand.

Madhura Mansabhdhar

Dear Madhura,
First and foremost, if you call me 'uncle' ever again, I will personally start accompanying your husband in using your bathroom. Wait, not only that, I'll get all my male relatives to join the party as well. And, just for your information, my Uncle Bobby can and does spray it anywhere, which in certain cultures, would be considered a remarkable talent. Now, let's move on to your problem. To understand this, we must understand our good friend the Indian male a little bit more first. For the Indian male, toilet training, to put it mildly, is mediocre. At a tender young age, his parents just tell him to point it in any general direction and fire. The inside part of the pot is neither used nor encouraged.

Thus, he becomes a sort of a 'freelancer' of the toilet world. He answers to no specific client. At any given time he uses the basin, the shower area, and even that plotted plant that sits by the window (for the more flexible, ahem, members).

As for the pot, he considers this to be his sanctum sanctorum, where he may do as he pleases, or if you'll forgive the pun, as he pees. He decorates this shrine as liberally as he deems fit. As a boy, every time he relieved himself, he would be greeted by a loud cheer from his family and support staff.

This caused him to believe, as he grew up, that relieving himself is one of his stronger suits and such an attitude should be seen by the world and not restricted geographically. He may have a bad day at the office, quarrel with his wife, feel low due to the onset of lumbar pain, but when he is alone with his pot, he's a man once again. A gunslinger, who can effortlessly decimate his lethal adversary, who in this case is the/err/um...well the pot.

So, be careful with this situation. To destroy his triumph in the toilet would change a man into a eunuch, and a eunuch is not what you want as your life partner, at least not for the first five years of marriage. Anyway, I have a three-point option plan for you to better this situation:

a) make sure he consumes less liquids. This will mean less visits to the loo and less of a mess for you. This follows of course from Roget's third law of motion that what goes in, must come out

b) if you have the finances, invest in a separate bathroom. The Mughal kings all had separate ones, and you never heard any toilet complaints against, say Akbar

c) grin and bear it for the next twenty years. Then you'll get your revenge. You see, at that point, his peeing will be more of a problem for him than for you.

Yours sincerely, Cyrus.

P.S.: I've also enclosed my birth certificate, so you can know my true age, or lack of it. I hope this will inspire you to understand that you don't necessarily have to be old to be wise or wise versa. 

Extracted with permission from Random House India. The title will be available from December 2 in all leading bookstores. Priced at Rs 199

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