Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Toilet for Babli"

 Toilet for Babli

We were all waiting in the meeting room for Varun Mittal, the producer of the TV show “Satyamev! Satyamev!! Satyamev!!!”.  I know he must be in rage, as the channel Television Rating Point (TRP) and particularly "“Satyamev! Satyamev!! Satyamev!!!" rating was dangerously low.
Varun entered the room with his latest MacBook and a few set of files. He was straight to the point, "Listen folks, I don’t want to scream about the rating. It’s past and nothing we will gain discussing about it. I need your inputs and suggestion to bring back our rating for the program”

Satyamev! Satyamev!! Satyamev!!! Is a reality talk show that pours spot light on the day to day un-said social, family and country issues. The program concludes by offering a solution to the problem and it was a major hit for the past 2 years and was in top 5 viewer’s favorite program list. But for some reasons, the TRP rating had come down and it not only worried the producer, but also the team who works for it.

“Why don’t we show something about Early marriage or Child abuse or domestic violence again?” I started the discussion first.
“These issues have already been hosted by Amir Khan in “Satyamev Jayate” program. I need something very critical and a burning issue, that entire population face in day to life and a part of the people (population) suffers the most.”

It has to be the red-hot issue for a part of the population? As well as it has to be faced by everyone, at least once in their life time? We all went deep in thoughts.

“Think well. I will give you a week of holiday; I need you guys to rejuvenate and come up with an extraordinary idea. I don’t know whether you will Google or read books or scan all blogging sites. But when you are back, I need an extraordinary issue that our nation is suffering.” Varun ordered and left the place.
"Chill folks, I got an idea. My grandma's village does not have electricity. Statistics says that 90 per cent of the villages still don’t have electricity and entire country, face electricity problem once in a day at-least. Even we, when the power goes off, we suffer a lot to charge our mobile phone. We should make a trip to any of the village and capture the electricity problem.” Our team mate Tanushree replied.
We decided to opt for Bheemeshwari village which is 100 meters away from Bangalore and capture the issues faced due to the lack of electricity. After reaching Bhemeshwari, we four travelled in bullock cart ride for almost 75 kms to reach a small village.

The villagers were so excited to see us and we were warm welcome. We were also given a place to stay in Papa Mohan’s house. He is the Panchayat head and villagers said it was the biggest house in the village to occupy visitors like us. It was a small hut with 5 ft ×5ft space. But yes, the house was so clean.

We opened our suitcase and asked the daughter of Panchayat head “Kanmani” to take us to bathroom so that we could freshen up. She said she don’t have anything as such in the entire village. I was taken back with surprise.
“How do you bath then?” I asked with concern in my voice.
“We have a river bank, which is 30 minutes’ walk from here. Men and children’s take bath over there. But women can take bath only during the night time. Even though it’s dark, men used to hide behind the trees and observe us bathing. We face a lot of challenges during full moon day. Sometimes, the force of water may be high and people lose the grip and get washed away. So far, 15 people have been washed away by the water, while bathing and washing the clothes” She completed with a worried tone.
“Why don’t you construct an easy 4 frame walls with the help of coconut leaves or Sari in the house itself?” Wait, to make her understand better, I just showed one picture which was available on my mobile.
“We can’t take a chance. Since there is no roof, we have to be so conscious that some guy may peep from the top of the palm team or coconut tree, which Is around all the houses. And, these are easily washed away by winds. We don’t have money to re-construct again and again.” She continued, “Even our schools don’t have toilets, we need to walk for 3 minutes for a bush or cactus plant to hide behind and pass our daily needs. Sometimes, dangerous snakes and venomous insects may be even present over there. During raining seasons, leeches will suck our blood while we stand over there and piss. We also suffer from breathing due to the pungent smell of the shits.”
How un-hygienic is that? Since, it’s the main cause for insets accumulating in one place and spreading dangerous disease like dengue, cholera and malaria. I thought and asked my final question which was running in my mind. “How do you manage those t …t…t..the.. the.. three days without toilets”
“We always think that it’s a curse. We sit idle at one place to avoid the fear of changing the clothes” my eyes were filled with tears.
How many times, we suffered a travel while travelling? We rather avoided buses and book train for our journey only for one reason ie – Train has toilets. How many times, we wished that a good bus facility is not with video, or AC but with a toilet which is still a dream and a wish? I still avoid preferring toilets in cinema theatres and bus stand as its not hygienic. While I drive in my car, I never find any toilets near toll gates or in highways. Countries like Malayisa have toilet in the highways. Why is India not constructing toilets in highways? We have to look for hotels and order a cup of coffee just to use the hotel toilets. Mobile toilet during marathon are placed every 2 kms. They know the mandatory for having toilets. India’s biggest problem was not lack of electricity, but lack of toilets. I called my team and discussed about the same. They all subscribed to bring this issue in the television program. Not the sake of TRP but for the sake of humanity.  We all got ready and switched on the camera to record the issues faced by the village due to lack of toilet.

Undoubtedly, after watching our program many companies came forward to construct toilets in highways, all villages and rural school. The initiative was named as Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme and was driven by Domex.

This post is written as a part of Happy Hours "Toilet for Babli" contest which is organized by Domex in association with indiblogger. 

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