Friday, June 20, 2008

There are many perks to an adult working life. But more than anything else, I L.O.V.E it because it confers on me three fundamental freedoms --

- freedom to use the restroom whenever I want (oh yeah, this is Numero Uno on the list!)
- freedom to eat when I am hungry
- freedom to drink water without being at the mercy of some eccentric teacher

With respect to the above three things, I am not sure how your experiences have been in schools. Mine have been rather, erm, interesting.

Asan Memorial in Chennai was good. We used to eat under the desks in between classes or even during a class (of course, without the knowledge of the teacher!). I was a kid and had limited inhibitions. I've asked to use the restroom in the middle of a class and teachers were usually accomodating. Restrooms were in good condition and had plenty of water. Of course, there were those kids who'd do it for a chance to just get away from the boring classes and teachers would deal rather sternly in those cases.

When I entered my teens, it became a bit complicated. In TVS Lakshmi, Madurai, you had rules for girls to use the rest room. I don't know if its just conservative mofussil towns or what, but boys would stare if a girl asked to use the toilet. The entire class would come to a grinding halt and all heads would be turned in the boys section toward the Girl Who Asked To Go. It was ridiculous! Sometimes teachers would refuse. What person in their normal senses would refuse a request for a basic need?!!?

Coming from cosmopolitan Chennai, I was unaware of all the "toilet" rules but I was enlightened soon. I outraged the modesty of all girls in the class by asking to use the restroom in front of a male teacher.

1. Don't ask to go before a male teacher. Heights of immodesty! Even if you are desperate, you have to preserve your modesty and die in your seat.
2. You have to secretly whisper it in the teacher's ears. You can't just raise your hand and speak from your place. That's for boys!
3. Don't use the dreaded "Toilet" word. That's yucky! Say "Please excuse me for a few minutes". That's more ladylike!
4. Don't look at the boys section when you get back. Lower your eyes and sit down.

It seems kinda stupid now but back then, I followed it because that's what everyone did. A lot of girls wouldn't drink water during class hours because of this problem. Girls restrooms weren't always clean at TVS Lakshmi. During peak summer, there wouldn't be water in the restrooms.

Things were similar in Trichy where I did my college. Girls were not supposed to go in the middle of class hours. But I was older, wiser and bolder for my high school experience in Canada. Once, a stupid Civil Engineering professor refused permission. I walked out of the class. That raised a huge uproar and I was summoned to the Staff Room. It just goes to show how ridiculous people can sometimes be!

It was a similar story with drinking water. You have to ask "permission". If guys do it without permission, that's understandable because "boys will be boys". But girls?! Oh no, we're supposed to be prim and proper even at the cost of our health.

I understand the need for teachers to maintain order in the class and all that jazz. But I think teachers sometimes take it to inhuman extents. I know of hundreds of girls who were dehydrating themselves because of this stupid rule. Is that good for our women in the long run?

Hopefully things have improved now in the schools of TN!


Zeppelin said...

>>You have to secretly whisper it in the teacher's ears. You can't just raise your hand and speak from your place. That's for boys!<<

EXACTLY!! idha naan eppovume yosippen..yen pasanga maanam mattum ippidi kaathula parakardhey nu.. :))

just wrote a post on similar lines..did you read it already? :)

Sriram said...

ha ha.. the errrm travails of being a school student here.. you'd have to raise your hand and shout 'miissss toilet misssss' and then the teacher would look at you, up and down and decide if you genuinely needed to go ( how she did that was beyond us) and then with a dismissive wave of the hand, she says 'go go.. ' and gets back to whatever she was doing before..

man... now that you mention it, it does seem silly..

Sriram said...

and you seem to be punching out posts pretty regularly.. catching up on all that lost time eh? :)

Red Phoenix said...

Was this just a random post or was it a ramnification of a recent rejection to walk out of the cabin for the powder room???? [:O]

Goli said...

As a guy, in school days, I never used to ask teacher to use the toilet. It used to be so embarrassing for me.

If I ever had to go, then when coming back to class I would look down and just quietly sit at my desk :).

Nice post, it bought lot of childhood memories back.

IBH said...

ahahahha...just brought back huge chunk of memories for me ;)

The Doodler said...


hehe..i would fight for equal rights here! :)


seriously! yeah, i was on a blogging spree..but as you've noticed, I've calmed down the past two weeks..:)


ippo dhaan permission kekka vendame!:)


I think its a shame that we've been reduced to such levels in our schools!



finding thyself said...

A well written post!!! Never saw working life from that point of view.

Sara said...

Great post...and yeah, a good dig at Civil Prof. Hhaaa...