Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I ease back into my seat, making a slight farting noise and attwenty-five years old, I still blush defensively. M.F. Hussain's Starry Night hangs on the wall to my right, alongside a proudly framed master’s degree. Dr. Sen asks which one person I think knows me best. The toilet does, I tell him. I mean, I guess a toilet isn’t a realperson but it does have a mouth and it is forced to take shit all throughout its sad existence just like a real one... Dr. Sen keeps silent and after a long awkward pause I shrug to myself and continue.

My classic design, pearl white toilet with universal 16-1/8 inch rimheight, large water surface, powerful, quiet flushing by Hindware, and tiny seashells etched around its base, really knows my life story. Yes, I must’ve been two when I flushed down my old pacifier, just out of curiosity. What came of that was I got some harsh toilet training for the next few months, my mom thinking I was showing her my ‘readiness.’ Dr. Sen lets out a bored “humm” and I half expect him to drone on about Freud and ask if people consider me anal-retentive. Thankfully he doesn’t. Well, I go on.

Needless to say I soon became a regular acquaintance of my toilet. Our first emotional ordeal together came when I was in kindergarten. The goldfish I’d won from the school carnival had died from starvation. Two weeks later (during which “Goldie” was frozen in a zip-lock bag and me, frozen in denial), I was finally prepared to face his funeral. As Mom flushed Goldie down, my toilet gave many respectful moments of silence and even let me cry on its tank of a shoulder. Over the next couple of years many things took the windy, circular pathdown that toilet: my cousin’s toys, stolen candy I realized I couldn’t finish before getting caught, bad drawings of the rainbow (the colors were all out of order, my dad had criticized), raw cauliflower stuffed into a napkin from dinnertime, B complex vitamins, and countless bugs I got tired of watching trying to doggie-paddle out.

Then when my parents separated I took it upon myself to do away with her wedding ring. The echo-ey clinks it made against the toilet bowl were celebratory. Mom and I, we both knew she knew what had happened to it; I think she was grateful. I was ten or eleven when I first tried out a tampon. I snicker with myself, wondering what Dr. Sen's thinking. I had no idea what they were for, but I knew enough from Mom to end uptossing one down my pants, walking around with it for awhile, then flushing it and getting another one. A good deal of time passed before she found out what I was doing, but for that while I was a grown-up and the toilet was a witness. Jr. High, a couple report cards had to go down, but with an especiallydrawn-out hiss, my toilet totally agreed that those certain teachers actually were horribly unfair. By my high school years I had trust in my toilet (though it did give me a case of potty-mouth one year), so I confided in it one night, asking for advice about my boyfriend. The next morning, it gave me truly the clearest advice I’ve ever gotten since then: that dear toilet allowed a good-sized rat to crawl out from it. I remember standing there as the rat shook his wetness off, Mom screeching like a wild monkey behind me, and thinking Yeah, he is a rat, isn’t he? I’ll break up with him tomorrow.

I stop and attempt to crane my neck back to check what Dr. Sen is doing. His jaded gray eyes stare back at me, eyebrows raise, and the personalized pen he’s holding swings back and forth sternly, motioning for me to turn around. I’m getting annoyed and honestly, bored of this. I take in a deep breath and sigh; I recite the rest to him. So, when I was nineteen Mom died in a car accident, I kept the house and married some old guy—that would be Dhruv—to help pay the bills. Then I wanted a baby so I flushed all our condoms and pills down the toilet. Next were the various pregnancy tests I had to keep secret. An accident and nine months later, I’m nagging him to quit smoking, and down goes ten packs of cigarettes. That took countless flushes; my toilet’s quiet flush feature was even wearing away. And he hasn’t even quit. Anyway, I suppose all my life I’ve been hiding the truth from myself, crippling myself to never be able to face anything, rejecting all I slightly dislike away and down the toilet with a comforting flush. I mean, is the toilet really my best friend, my only friend? Do you think I need to stop this before I let my entire life go down the toilet? Help!!!!

I twist my neck back again and see Dr. Sen checking his tacky goldwatch. “Well, your hour’s up—I’ll be vacationing for the next two weeks, here’s my business card, and you can make a second appointment with my secretary anytime.” He smiles and nods sympathetically as he says this, like he’s doing me a favor. I stop by Spencer's Mall on my way home. I pick up four bowl-freshener discs(mountain spring scented), a Warmlet brand seat heater for Rs 4500, a pink furry seat cover accessory, and oh, a brand new plunger too. I know it’ll be hard on my dear toilet to take in two bodies, even if one of them is child-sized.
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