Continued from yesterday’s post…
MMM expected no surprises from the toilet. Like the tea, these too are governed by standard codes. The floor is always a watery mess, the taps in contrast will be dry though the pipes will drip. Cobwebs will abound and a broken WC or two will be lying around. Everything will be stained. But life is a great teacher and MMM was to learn a thing or two that afternoon.
The first toilet had its door firmly locked and what’s more, appeared to have been locked ever since the day a Minister inaugurated it. The escort smiled and said that “we” should try the one on the next floor. And so off “we” went.
This loo was open but as to what lay beyond was a great mystery. It was pitch dark and the only sound of life was a roaring torrent of water that appeared to be building into a whirlpool of sorts. Taking one look, MMM quailed and refused to take the plunge (pun intended). The escort was momentarily nonplussed and muttered something under his breath about lily-livered poltroons. He then assembled a regulation smile and said something about how the bulb had fused a couple of months earlier but a tender had not yet been floated for a replacement. MMM did not ask but he assumed that the waterfall inside was waiting for the floating (pun fully intended) of a tender too. The escort thought for a while. He then brightened and said there was one more loo in the next floor and we could try that. And so off we went.
This time all went well. The loo was relatively clean, though conforming to overall regulations. The escort opened the door with a flourish and having sent MMM in, firmly shut it. MMM went about his business and while at it took a look around. He could see that this was a toilet that was rather differently structured as compared to any public convenience he had used. It was not designed for the differently abled but it was somehow different. MMM could just not put his finger on it.
In the meanwhile there appeared to be considerable commotion outside. There were raised voices, mostly in a soprano while the escort’s voice was coming through as a powerful bass. Suddenly the opera reached a crescendo with the escort’s voice moving from A flat to F sharp. He became a tenor in an instant. This was followed by complete silence.
MMM emerged. The escort was nowhere to be seen. MMM went down the staircase and was puzzled to find everyone staring at him with a mixture of awe, fear and hostility. On reaching the ground floor, MMM found his escort, mopping his brow and giving all indications as to having emerged from a trying experience. MMM asked him as to what happened but he would not reply for quite a while. After repeated cajoling he came out with it. He had taken MMM to the ladies’ toilet as it “was the only one suited to men of stature like us.” MMM has since not gone back to that particular office.