By:- Abigail Menezes. No:3752
You wake up early morning thinking, ‘Heck! It’s going to be a great day!’ You jump into a fast local catch the window seat, quiet content. Little do you know that you’re in for something, that’s not going to be a pretty sight? You look out the window and you see a line of people with a small bucket of water answering to natures call! While you may think it’s unusual, it is actually normal for people who don’t have access to a private bathroom like we do.
Are they comfortable dealing with the embarrassment of having to do it on a railway track? Of course not! But what other alternative do they really have? Poverty is on an increase in our country and we don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Instead of building bridges that people hardly ever use, why not build more, clean public bathrooms? It’s obviously going to be of better use.
One of the major reasons you find people littering on the railway tracks is because they can’t afford to use a public bathroom every single day. A man who earns about Rs. 50 – 60 a day and has to support a family of 5 with that bare minimum obviously cannot afford spending Rs. 2 every time he uses a public bathroom. I spoke to man named Ravindra, who lives in a 10 * 10 hut near the railway track between Bandra and Mahim Junction (E), with no private bathroom. He earns precisely 65 rupees per day and supports 6 people in his family and he says that all of them eat just 2 meals every day. When asked if he uses the public bathroom that is so close by, he reluctantly said no. “It is pointless wasting money to use those public bathrooms that are dirty anyways. For me spending 2 Rupees a day to use a bathroom for my entire family is a big thing. There is no to charge ne for using the railway tracks. It’s as simple as it gets. I cannot afford it.”
For people like Ravindra this is a normal phenomenon. But the broader picture here is that people are living in such horrible conditions and the state does nothing to improve these situations. Why waste money on things that the people of the city hardly use? Sadly no one ever stands up to raise their voice if there is a genuine problem. We all accept things as they are without asking serious questions and this situation isn't going to find a solution until the state opens their eyes and sees this as a problem.
So if you spot someone answering to natures call for the first time, don’t start overreacting. If you decide to travel by train early in the morning for a long period of time, relax. You will most definitely get used to it. If however you decide not to, just take it with a pinch of salt and move on!