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Much has been written about the great quests of man – the quest for love, the quest for money/success/treasure, the quest to find oneself, the quest to find purpose and meaning in one’s existence.

All of which is great but the entire author, scriptwriter, storyteller fraternity has criminally ignored one quest that must rank as high as any of these above mentioned in desperation and passion.

I’m of course talking about man’s quest to find a place to pee.

There is this myth, of course propagated by womenfolk that men have it easy. They can pee anywhere. All they have to do is walk upto any wall, yank down their zippers, pull out their willies and do pee pee.

Not true, not true at all. Especially if one happens to belong to that brigade that has pretensions of being civilized, kind of sophisticated, superior to the labourer class.

Unfortunately I belong to that segment. Even more unfortunately I was in a car stuck in a God awful traffic jam on the highway and my  bladder was close to bursting.

I would love for some woman to explain to me, how in these fucked up circumstances would being a guy, offer any kind of advantage or ease or short cut to finding a means of relieving oneself.

Even if we had been on some side road with a wall, there was no way I would have hopped out of my car, rushed to the aforementioned structure and done the drenching deed. Really with every passing car starring at my posterior and thinking – “Bastard wears a suit and then behaves like a bumpkin.”

But even if I had been willing to tarnish my image to that extent, my current location cut off any chances of succour. It wasn’t as if I could run to the edge of the flyover and let fly hoping that passing vehicles or walkers would chalk it down to unseasonal rain.

Consequently I sat in the car, knees tightly clasped together, praying for the traffic to move, praying for the craving to subside, praying for any kind of out.

I put on the radio to distract myself and Fate obliged me with 6 variations on the subject of falling rain, pouring water, 4 in Hindi, one in English and the last in Marathi, each one eroding the last vestiges of control I had over my bladder.

Years ago, as a 8 year old kid, I had humiliated myself publicly by peeing in my pants, right in the middle of a cricket game. And I wasn’t a fielder far removed from the centre of action, nay I was in the thick of it, since I was the runner. Perhaps if I had been wearing black coloured trousers, I might have still gotten away with it. But no I had chosen that day to sport my sky blue shorts. Result – the most embarrassing moment of my life, even thinking about which gives me the shudders. So much so that I’ve never played cricket again. Or watched if I had a choice.

Looked as if history was going to repeat itself. I was going to inundate my cream coloured trousers and suede shoes on the day of my big presentation with the South East Asian Head of Operations.

No. No. NO. I had to find a way. I had to think of something.

But what? The traffic was showing no signs of moving. We could easily be there another half hour by which time I’d definitely be experiencing the joys of self irrigation.

What about the edge? I couldn’t pee off it but maybe I could jump down, then run and find a… hold on. I wasn’t Neo. Nor Akshay Kumar. If I jumped I wouldn’t be doing any running for months, perhaps never. Ego crunching humiliation was still better than being crippled.

No. There was no go. My childhood trauma would have to repeat itself. I was reconciled to another three scores of living with urination shame.

And then a miracle happened. Much akin to a parched traveller in the desert, nearly dying of thirst, spotting a rain cloud. My deliverance was also aqueous – in the shape of an opportunistic street kid deriving maximum economic advantage from the jam by selling bottled water to dehydrated motorists.

I flagged him down frantically, not willing to risk the chance of his merchandise being snapped up by less deserving others.

He popped up near my window and jauntily asked me how many bottles I wanted. I was about to say I but some glorious prudence stoppedme and amended my order to double.

Best decision of my life. For once I’d poured out the original contents of both bottles, rolled up my windows, arranged nether regions and receptacle in position, I let flow. Only the quantity of liquid streaming out was in such copious quantity, that mid discharge, I had to switch bottles. To my credit I managed to with mimimal spraying of car floor.

Thankfully only two bottles were needed but both were full almost to the brim. It had been a near thing in every way.

Disposing of the bottles once I got off the flyover was easy peasy. I just tossed them into a trash heap, only praying that the scavenger who found them would wash and refill before re-selling.

The presentation turned out to be a runaway success. I was in killer form, perhaps emboldened by my triumph over the vicissitudes of Fate.

But to this day I can never even look at a bottle of mineral water.

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