Belgian in the Bathroom

19 Jun

In the summer of ’96 we were invited by a large Govt. agency to do an EDI demo in New Delhi. We (my company and our vendor) decided to fly in an expert from Belgium. BH was this EDI expert with classic French accent like Inspector Clousseau (Pink Panther fame).

So, the Demo starts in right earnest (it was spread over 2 days). The 2 days are Saturday and Sunday.

The agency that has asked for the demo has brought in 20 of its trainees to “manage” the demo. These kids, barely out of college are eager to impress their superiors and they do that by asking BH all kinds of questions. Our vendor’s team is doing their best to control the process, but like a true intellectual, BH is getting hassled.

Day 1 ends with a flourish and we have all our softwares installed and ready for “testing” on Day 2.


Day 2 is even more of the same, things are chaotic. BH is threatening to walk out. We are all hassled. Suddenly he decides he needs to go to the bathroom.

Bathrooms in Government Buildings are pathetic to say the least. At least the ones that public get to use. They usually have an old rusty bucket and a dripping faucet and the chances of you getting a clean one is solely dependant on the guy who used it before you.

Anyway we were so caught up, we let him go and he was directed to the “public” bathrooms that “adorned” the place.

An hour later someone realizes that he’s not back yet. So its suggested that we go look for him. So, a group of us wandered outside fully expecting to see BH smoking outside… it was lunchtime anyways. Not seeing him there, we wandered towards the bathroom. As we got closer, we heard a faint cry of “Help Help”… we suddenly realized it was our friend… when we got within earshot we asked him what the problem was… and then it hit us.. the poor guy DID NOT HAVE TOILET PAPER… he had been yelling himself hoarse for the past hour but it being a holiday no one heard and we were too far away.

So next was this entire exercise about how to “extract” BH out of the bathroom. Someone suggested water. He refused to comply. Govt buildings in Delhi are far away from shops that sell toilet paper.

Finally we send a car out to buy toilet paper, this takes another 45 minutes, the whole time the poor guy is inside (feeble attempts were made to give him “alternate” paper supply). Now more and more “curious onlookers” are gathering. Finally the paper arrives and BH is able to make his exit. Stuck in a bathroom in searing heat had taken a toll on him and he looked like he might burst into tears any minute. He also couldn’t understand why people were avoiding him. Finally it was decided that we send him back to the Hotel to “freshen up”.

BH came back and continued.. none the worse for the wear (pun intended). He was ribbed about this episode a bit and took it in his stride.

Did he ever come back? Yes.. I met him 6 months later in Chennai. But this time he had a roll of toilet paper in his PC bag. “Ziss time I am prepared” he told me… πŸ˜‰

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30 Responses to “Belgian in the Bathroom”

  1. gmohanprakash June 19, 2007 at 4:06 am #

    Vijay,
    Good story and hillarious too. I salute BH’s intitutive mind to carry the roll around.

  2. MP June 19, 2007 at 4:38 am #

    LOL! That is really funny. At the risk of hijacking I must narrate two similar ones.

    1992 – We had just had an episode similar to the BH one. A GE customer was expected that day – so I wanted to ensure things were in order, and I asked our facilities guy if he had toilet paper in the bathroom. He said yes. I then asked if he had more than one roll – just in case! His reply?
    He made a gesture of how you take a piece of cloth and vigorously shine your shoes by rubbing back and forth – only thing the cloth is now between your legs and yelled – “Boss, chahiye tho woh paper leke achcha cherry blossom shine maar sakta hai. Itna saraa hai. Tu kai ko dartha?”

    In 1994 another customer visiting our office went missing for 30 minutes after he said he was going to use the rest room. After searching frantically for him, we went to the security guy and asked him whether he saw the customer around. He said “Yes Sir. Sir wanted to use the Rest Room. So I showed into the big conference room and asked him to rest there.” We found a very confused looking customer in the conference room!!

  3. decemberstud June 19, 2007 at 5:57 am #

    Dude…u seem to be in the middle of all crazy situations. How so? πŸ™‚

  4. Vijay June 19, 2007 at 6:00 am #

    MP: Hilarious..
    DS: It does seem so doesnt it? What to do “Forehead Writing” πŸ˜‰

  5. Priya June 19, 2007 at 10:45 am #

    Velly velly funneee…

  6. Chitra June 19, 2007 at 1:12 pm #

    OMG! Hilarious! Poor poor guy! I admire his coming back!!! πŸ™‚

    LOLling also at MP’s incidents. πŸ˜€

  7. Prashanth M June 20, 2007 at 4:41 am #

    Hilarious incidents… super… now its time to add two from my side —

    #This happened in our office just last year. Conversation between the receptionist & the new joinee (he was my teammate’s friend) — The guy was asked to wait in the lobby as the person to whom he was supposed to report was not yet in. After 5 minutes the receptionist asked the guy whether he wants to go to rest room. For which he replied, no I will rest here itself. And coincidentally, he is a sardar πŸ˜›

    #Another funny incident which involved me. Three years ago in office, I was stuck in a toilet. When I tried to open the door, the door latch gave away and there was no way to open the door from inside except breaking the door. Thanks to mobile phones, I called up my friend and I was out in a minute πŸ™‚

  8. Veena June 20, 2007 at 6:07 am #

    Hilarious..
    enri Vijay, customer/vendor is GOD andre neevu internal story ella share maadtheera? paapa.. I wonder how would that guy feel if he comes to read this blog post πŸ™‚ You never know the blog stories/posts now flow through news papers/emails.

    Well, many of us just translate the ‘Rest room’ verbatim and understand this incorrect. but, one thing is true toilets are some places where we can ‘Rest in peace’ πŸ™‚

    Just think about an indian who would be similarly looking for a mug of water inplace of those rounded toilet papers and unfortunately this doesn’t fit in the luggage bag too 😦

  9. Prash June 20, 2007 at 6:34 am #

    Hey this is hilarious !

  10. Vijay June 20, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    @Chitra: We were surprised on his return as well πŸ™‚

    @Veena, the vendor was none other than nimma company πŸ™‚ I dont think it will bother that guy.. this episode has done several internal email rounds with him on the cc list…

    @Prashanth: Lol.. at least you had a mobile phone.. back in ’96 things were not launched yet…

    @Prash: Thanks for visiting..

  11. some body June 20, 2007 at 1:28 pm #

    veena:

    “… one thing is true toilets are some places where we can ‘Rest in peace'”

    what was that again? πŸ˜‰ i wonder what an american (and maybe a belgian) would say if he/she were to read that statement!

    prashanth:

    are you saying that now ‘rest room’ is widely used in inda? it definitely was not in the india that i lived in (though that was quite smoe time ago).

    – s.b.

  12. Veena June 20, 2007 at 4:15 pm #

    s.b – No kaal Yeleing here..pls! πŸ™‚

  13. Riki June 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm #

    well good post I comeck frombelgie one week ago. Look as very interesting country.Rich

  14. some body June 21, 2007 at 2:57 am #

    veena:

    to be honest, you will have a field day if this were a kannada blog and i were commenting in kannada :-). but then, if i start reading and commenting on kannada blogs, one blog would be enough for me – i will not have time to even read more per day – let alone understand and digest it!

    – s.b.

  15. Veena June 21, 2007 at 4:22 am #

    s.b,

    fine fine, lets leave it here.

  16. neel3 June 21, 2007 at 5:28 am #

    BH ge once bitten twice shy..??

  17. bachodi June 21, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Ha ha…
    All paper guys should be given some khara-khara food. From next day they will insist for water, since paper burns for heat πŸ˜‰

  18. MP June 22, 2007 at 4:46 am #

    Bachodi,
    Ha Ha! Very true. One of my Desi friends had invited over an American for dinner. The couple enjoyed the very spicy food. However, the next day they came over and told him “Boy, it was hotter coming out than going in! No wonder y’all use water rather than paper. Very practical!” πŸ™‚

  19. Mahesh Shantaram June 22, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    Too funny. But I had the same experience in reverse. In my case, I was the Indian on his first trip abroad, and that too to Belgium in 1997. On my first day there, I had to rush into the toilet without any planning. Only after the deed did I notice that there was no tap, no bucket, no mug… ah well. You live and learn.

  20. Vijay June 23, 2007 at 1:57 am #

    @Mahesh: LOL…. may I ask how you got out of the “mess” (no pun intended)… πŸ˜‰

  21. Mahesh Shantaram June 23, 2007 at 2:51 am #

    I wish I could give a simple answer like “I found some toilet paper and figured out what to do with it.” But the truth was much more complicated and we are not getting into that right now.

  22. Vijay June 23, 2007 at 3:13 am #

    @Mahesh: πŸ™‚

  23. some body June 23, 2007 at 5:06 am #

    vijay:

    this post reminds me of a nursery rhyme … ‘piggy on the railroad tracks… (, picking up stones …)’ πŸ™‚

    – s.b.

  24. Mysorean June 26, 2007 at 6:34 am #

    Hillarious Vijay! Look what I missed by not being around ur blog for more than a few days! πŸ™‚ Amazing stories!

  25. destinationsrik July 4, 2007 at 5:55 am #

    Haaa thats like an intelligent dude. He will go miles in the journey of life πŸ˜‰

    learning from the mistakes!!

  26. Vijay September 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm #

    The joke is not on that foreign visitor but us Indians. Dont you think its better for everyone to use the toilet paper and then wash instead of touching the mess with our hands?. You could always use the water after that !. What happens to your hand after the deed?. Its full of deadly fecal matter and noboby sterilizes their hands after using the toilet, more so as up until very recently,India did not have the liquid antibacterial soap!. So you see we are the dirty ones. By the way, using the toilet paper does a clean job. You could, after cleaning your butt, moisten fresh paper, use a bit of the liquid antibacterial and clean yourself once more before another round to dry off. OR use wet wipes after cleaning initially and dont forget to sterilize your hands before leaving. Anyday beats what we do in the loo!!.

  27. rama September 20, 2008 at 11:26 pm #

    WHAT TAKES THE CAKE HERE IS THAT IT HAS NOT SUNK INTO MOST PEOPLE HERE THAT THE WAY WE GO ABOUT CLEANING UP AFTER TAKING A CRAP IS CRUDE, UNHYGIENIC AND DOWNRIGHT EMBARRASSING. ITS THIRD WORLD ALRIGHT!!!!.

  28. My3 September 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    Phew!! Rama Rama Rama
    Please cool down!!
    Don’t you wash your hands with soap and water? If not then maybe you should start atleast now πŸ™‚

    And please do some research about the effect squatting has on colon. And here is one to get you started on your research
    http://www.naturesplatform.com/health_benefits.html

  29. Vijay September 22, 2008 at 4:00 am #

    @My3: Good one…
    @Rama/Vijay: Looks like you are the same person from your IP addresses… the point of this post was not to eulogise washing you know what.. but an incident that happened… come on lighten up (no pun intended)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Belgian in the Bathroom at Blogbharti - June 19, 2007

    […] narrates a hilarious incident involving a Belgian stuck in a toilet because there was no toilet paper in […]

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