Gujarati village children — Photo courtesy: Anirudh Bhati — Wikimedia Commons
While at our Jamnagar relatives’ house, my oldest daughter, three at the time, needed to go to the toilet. When we asked where the washroom was, we were told there wasn’t one and she could go on the cement balcony before us. This surprised me because our relatives owned a peanut farm and from the look of their premises, they didn’t lack money.
“Oh, we had a toilet,” explained the head of the family. Before a distant family member arrived from Tanzania, they had one installed. But after she left, they filled it in. In typical Indian hospitality, they wanted us to stay the night but for me, it was impossible without a bathroom. I can laugh about this now. In fact, it’s one of my favourite stories of India. But at the time I wasn’t impressed.