Economy Class Bathroom
This episode dates back to the last century. Well at least it feels that old, even though technically it *is* based in the 90’s. A few young girls unknown to each other have been thrown together by fate to stay together for the next 4 years to come. They all are apprehensive, judgemental and quick to form opinions based on the first impression. They know they have to face a lot of hardships, accustom themselves to this new environment. After being uprooted from their relatively more stable existence, they feel like weeds, ready to sway in the direction the wind takes them, entwined to each other nevertheless.
These were the girls of an engineering college which was just starting and they belonged to the first batch of it. To start with, there was no girls hostel, so the handful of girls were shifted to some meagre staff quarters, 2 girls sharing each room. No attached bathrooms, unlike what some might have been used to. Adjusting with 5 more individuals who are all new and trying to come to terms with their eating, drinking, sleeping, snoring, loud talking, clothes washing, loo occupying, music listening and what not habits is not easy for one if one has never stayed outside at all.
As is obvious I was one of these girls and was in this very situation along with the rest. One of the things I remember most about those staff quarters is the ‘economy class bathroom’. As I pointed out, there was just one lavatory and one bathroom (in fact one bucket and one mug too :-P). The only arbitration algorithm we used was to speak out as soon as possible in the morning that we would be ‘next’ (dunno if there was ever any ‘first’). Soon enough, as is obvious, everyone had to get ready by the same time, and the occupancy rate of these divine locations was quite high. However, there was this unused area in all flats, called the kitchen which seldom got our attention and we had just stuffed it with our trunks. One fine day, yours truly was getting horribly late and the arbitration mechanism had not left any chance to me. So I decided to be a little innovative and went to the kitchen. There was a proper sink and a water outlet on the ground. (That meant I wouldn’t have to stuff myself into the sink). That was all I needed. In dearth of a mug, I used an old empty jam bottle (of course clean) to pour water over myself. Here I must add, that the kitchen had a huge window compared to a small airlet in the bathroom and that window used to overlook a vast field (the empty grounds of the airport in Pune). One could also see the big, bright orange, rising sun from that window which was quite an overwhelming sight. Also, since the area was totally barren and devoid of any trees, the wind used to swoosh right into the kitchen. The first time I tried this experience, I kind of got addicted to the freedom from arbitration and queues as well as the bright sunrise one got to witness, not to mention the natural dryer that I had, which dried me completely without any expensive gadgets. The ‘economy class bathroom’ was thus born and that was what I referred to it as. But to me it will always be no less than a super deluxe one!