Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Park Circus Crossing

This is a tough one, by all accounts. Where does one go if caught short at the Park Circus crossing? National Medical College? Lady Brabourne (shudder)? Or the wide open greensward on Park Circus maidan, the only place in Calcutta where you can crap along with the hippo and the elephant? Or does one sneak into the tram depot?

Return to sanitary sanity

The Goodlooguide has become somewhat moribund of late, so now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party and recall the noble impulses which went to the making of this blog. So at the cost of repeating myself, let me remind you of what the blog undertook to feature in its first fine careless rapture:

1. A list of loos for those inconvenient moments in time and space, in all the major world cities. If you have any loos to recommend, please post the location in the ‘Comments’ section, giving full details about opening hours, tariffs, softness of loo paper and so on.
2. A rating of all major loos, on a scale of one to five.
3. The loo in history: nothing less than a comprehensive history of toilets and its impact on human civilization.
4. Loo Read: what to read in the loo and what has been written about loos in world literature
5. Loos of the future: a loo(k) at what the future holds in store.

We began well, by reporting extensively on loos at the 8B bus terminus, Jadavpur University and Anwar Shah Road. But then, for some obscure reason, we became obsessed with no. 5--loos of the future. Also, there was a brief but deplorable period of fascination with genitalia-shaped loos.

Time to return to sanitary sanity.

From this post onwards, the GLG will focus on specific areas of our fair city, with one neighbourhood covered per post. As before, please post all information under the ‘Comments’ section of the relevant neighbourhood.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In the beginning was Okhil-babu

Okhil Babu’s letter to the Railway Department (early 1900’s ) =============================================

“I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with ‘lotah’ in one hand and ‘dhoti’ in the next when I am fall over and expose all shocking to man and female women on plateform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station. This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers.”

Okhil Chandra Sen wrote this letter to the Sahibganj divisional railway office in 1909. It is on display at the Railway Museum in New Delhi. It was also reproduced under the caption “Travellers’ Tales” in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Apparently this letter led to the introduction of toilets on trains in India.