Wednesday 15 February 2012


Yes, it’s that time of a week for my favorite unbelievable news story…this time we find ourselves in a small village in India where a newlywed woman, Anita Narre (above), left her husband’s home shortly after their marriage in protest. Her issue? The house did not have a toilet. Yes, you read that right. Seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to annul a marriage to me.  In defense to the poor groom, he earned pittance, and I’m sure would’ve loved to have owned a toilet years ago, not to mention a bidet (I mean seriously, once you figure out how to use one, those things are ridiculously useful).

Lucky enough for the groom, the bride returned 8 days later (god I love this woman’s resolve) when he and some magnanimous villagers built a toilet for her. The fact that the article said, ‘built’ and not ‘installed’ seems a bit depressing to this Westerner, but then again, I can freely admit as a woman in a very privileged society that we are much more high maintenance and ridiculously spoiled.

Anita Narre's decision to take a stand was widely supported by aid groups and the local government. Apparently half a billion Indians still lack access to basic sanitation - half a billion. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. The government is not (totally) blind to the problem and has even initiated a new local law (in some States) that says that “people’s representatives are obliged to construct a flush toilet in their home within a year of their election;”[a move that aims to promote healthy sanitation I suppose]. Those who fail to do so are looking at the exit door. This sanitation drive has of course been highlighted by this one very brave woman’s fight to go to the toilet in the privacy of her own home.
And here we Westerners are bitching and moaning about our partners’ not putting the toilet seat down, or never picking up the toilet brush to clean the damn thing (honey, do you even know where the toilet brush is?). How about not even having one?? Now there would be a tension-making problem right there…“You want me to cook dinner?! Yeah, well, I have to hike a mile in the dark, freezing night just so I can go to the bathroom in private and who knows if I’ll even find a free bush to use! Make your own damn dinner!”

Stories like this not only make me incredibly thankful for what I do have – a porcelain bowl with actual plumbing – but shed light on those courageous women out there in all situations and circumstances, that say, we’re not going to take this anymore! We're with you Anita. Rock on with your courageous self...oh, and demand really soft toilet paper while you're at it.
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