This is a loo, yes, in the cottage I stayed in most recently when visiting my mum at Dignity. It’s a modern convenience, not a traditional hole-in-the-ground squat toilet that you’re likely to see over much of the country It even has a flushing cistern, rather than relying on the action of gravity on the contents of the rest of the little water bucket you’ve taken in for hygiene purposes.
Nowadays the places I visit in India only really have loos like this but I’m willing to bet that a large proportion of the population will rely on the old system if, indeed, they have loos at all in their area. There is, to be fair, a campaign started this year by the current government to provide sanitary facilities for villages across India but I understand that the take-up is not all it might be.
Anyway, this is a modern wall-hung loo, with a plinth for an inset concealed cistern, just like the loos in my house, stylish and harmonious. Only it isn’t, because the carefully tiled wall does not, in fact, conceal the cistern. The cistern has become the focal point of its own little alcove. There it is, in all its glory, proudly displayed against the wall, basking in its own dedicated spotlight. It’s not something you’d see everywhere.
You can buy anything in India if you have the money, and there are beautifully designed public buildings and private houses all over the place. There are wonderful marbles and granites, fantastic quality raw materials. But often the workmanship or the finishing lacks finesse because people either don’t have the knowledge or imagination to think through how something should look. And because no-one takes responsibility for checking, things are signed off with a shrug of the shoulders. I found it amusing because it’s not my house.