Driving On Indian Highway

Pee-Nuts on the Indian Highways

Ashish JoshiLast Seen: Dec 5, 2023 @ 6:30am 6DecUTC
Ashish Joshi

2nd December 2023 | 28 Views
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Well, here is that itch to write again! It reminds me of a very different formication that most of you might have experienced if you were frequently hitting the highways in India.

As a prelude, let me tell you that the Indian National Highways have come of age. The road is no longer a long, dark, lonely expanse leading nowhere. It is a smooth, multi-lane stretch, with user-friendliness written in bold all over it.

Per the directive issued by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in the year 2000, fuel stations along the National Highways have to be, I quote – A part of Rest area complexes, with amenities like parking, restaurant, kiosks, and toilet complemented by informatory (sic) signage announcing the distance to the nearest one.

So what the heck am I carping about? You would ask!

The drive through the city, one cold December morning, had barely commenced when I started getting the urge to take a slash. It was pretty ok when it started but, by the time I was halfway through the city, the tame urging had become a rather urgent calling that could no longer be ignored.

Unlike most of my compatriots, I have this thing against hanging my yoo-ee anywhere on the roadside, giving it an unscheduled wash. And in the wee hours of the morning, it was almost impossible to find a decent hole where I could relieve myself.

I pressed on the throttle a tad harder, hurling towards the highway, hoping to find some 24-hour filling station where I could find solace. The blessed sign yonder announced a restroom 500m ahead. My foot automatically responded, and I covered the distance in record time. Alas! It turns out that the signage people have been proactive in their work, while the fuel station, which is supposed to host this restroom, is still under construction.

I desperately scanned the road for the next sign, and there it was, standing majestically, directing me to the end of my misery, another kilometer ahead. Continuing my winning run, I finally touchdown at a functioning fuel station. I rushed to the attendant, who was busy topping up a swank SUV’s tank!

Twisting my body into impossible positions, which will make all our acclaimed yoga gurus hang their heads in shame, I ask directions to the restroom. The guy gives me a lackadaisical lookover! And if looks could kill, I would be sitting at the pearly gates much before writing this account. 

By this time, I am literally doing a live performance of John Travolta’s – Saturday Night Fever – to the great amusement of SUV’s occupants. However, the attendant seems to have already dismissed me from his mind.

He finally relents, in all likelihood due to the guttural sounds my thorax was inadvertently emitting as an accompaniment to the equally inadvertent gyration of my body. He directed me in a leisurely manner, with a subtle turn of his head, to a decrepit shack in one corner.

Leaving the thank-you note for later, I rushed towards my salvation.

As I approached the quarters pointed out by the dour attendant, I realized I had been wasting my time asking directions. I could have just as effortlessly figured my way to the el-stinko place. There was no need for the extempore concert I had to put up with right there in the open-air theatre among bemused spectators.

If at all, had I been a bit more conscious of my olfactory senses, I could have very well located the site on my own. Assisted by the stink, I navigated to the hot spot only to find an oversized padlock blocking my access. Wondering what precious treasure lay inside the locked room, I desperately ran back to the attendant to ask for the keys. By then, my plight seemed to have struck some hidden-chord of compassion in the fellow, and he decided to communicate.

In a gruff voice, he announced that the keys were with the owner and he would be looking in around noon. Utterly flabbergasted, I could not but help ask him how he managed through the night. Well, he was a man of few words! Yet another brusque turn of head enlightened me to what I had been missing so far:

In India, do as Indians do – right there in the bushes.

Unable to hold it anymore and my reservations aside, I did just that. With a lingering fear of a wandering Nat Geo photographer clicking me, as the next face of progressive India on World Toilet Day article celebrated on 19th November every year, I let out a gusher. 

As G Norman Lippert famously said – “When you gotta go, you gotta go!”

Ashish JoshiLast Seen: Dec 5, 2023 @ 6:30am 6DecUTC

Ashish Joshi



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