We talk and hear a lot about Swatch Bharat. I personally saw immense positive changes in India. Despite all this, I cease to understand how and why the public washroom problem NEVER gets resolved. It’s a shame that we still have to “hunt” for usable public toilets. At some places, there’s no public toilet at all and at others public toilet is simply unusable. I have experienced this problem everywhere in India, EXCEPT MEGHALAYA.

During my recent trip to Spiti, I couldn’t help but constantly remember and praise Meghalaya for giving me the freedom to drink water and pee comfortably. Public washrooms in Himachal Pradesh, especially in Shimla and Kinnaur, are a disaster! I have seen bad washrooms during my trips but Himachal tops the dirtiest washroom list, so far. It’s much easier to not drink water and stay dehydrated to reduce the peeing frequency, than to even approach those washrooms! Some washroom stank so bad that it was impossible to even pass by.

Be it washroom in Shimla bus stand or near a monastery in Spiti, all were a mess. In fact, washrooms in Spiti were slightly better than those in Kinnaur. Instead of justifying or wondering why we can’t have usable public washrooms, I think rest of India should learn a couple of lessons from Meghalaya. Public washrooms even in a tiny Meghalayan village were spotless; some even smelled of strong disinfectant as if they are frequently cleaned. No wonder, the cleanest village in Asia is in Meghalaya! This was Meghalaya in 2015 and I hope this remains relevant even now.

We saw a lot tourists and bikers during our trip in Himachal. Tourism is undeniably one of the significant incomes of this region. It is high time that something is done to address this issue. The point isn’t about gender. Every human should have access to a clean usable public toilet.

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