Mumbai: When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. If you’re a Mumbaikar, always in a blind rush and a creature of habit, you could end up going in the wrong direction.
Central Railway (CR) authorities learned this the hard way two weeks ago. CR, with the best of intentions, swapped the location of the men’s restroom with that of the women’s at Thane Railway Station.
The result: A daily comedy of errors in which men accidentally walk into the ladies’ restroom and vice versa.
The toilet blocks, located on platform 10, were redesigned after several complaints that the small size of the men’s section was leading to long queues outside.
The women’s section, which is less used, was larger in size. Hence, CR decided to switch the toilets.
Commuters are being caught with their pants down even though CR has put up the right signs outside the renovated toilets.
When nature calls, commuters just dash in the old direction out of sheer habit and ignore the signs. The situation is such that the authorities have had to set up guards outside the loos to save hapless commuters embarrassment.
Attendant Pavan Yadav said, “We stop so many men daily. Even then, some few men enter the women’s toilet block by mistake.
A huge commotion follows and we get yelled at by the passengers. We are getting tired of this” Yadav adds that most of the regular commuters do not bother to check the signage.
Another attendant, not wishing to be named, said, “A few days ago, two women entered the men’s loo before we could stop them. They were so embarrassed that they simply walked away.”
Sudhakar Raorane, a commuter, tried to explain why he made the mistake. “I am a regular commuter and have been using this toilet for long. As a matter of habit, I head to the left-hand side, where the original men’s section was.” He added that he will now be careful and watch out for the sign.
A K Singh, Public Relations Officer for CR said, “We renovated the toilet for the benefit of the commuters. The old toilet meant for women was bigger compared to the men’s loo and not used as much. So we decided to switch them.”
He added that illuminated boards were put up to ensure there was no confusion. But habits die hard.