Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tissue culture


The title has got nothing to do with the laboratory tissue culture, but it concerns the use of toilet tissues. While visiting the Heidelberg castle in Germany, the guide explained that in olden days when toilet paper was not available, poor people used straw to do the work while the elite class used soft ferns.

Coming from a country where we use water to clean after answering the nature’s calls, I was finding reasons why water was not used there. May be in cold season it was difficult, or may be there was water shortage. But what about the habit being continued in the temperature controlled modern apartments, with adequate water supply? It is even more interesting to see NRIs in America taking to this habit.

Being a dentist, I was fascinated to see the importance given to a project work by an American school girl on tooth brushes. She established that simply washing and drying the tooth brushes don’t clean them thoroughly and recommended disinfecting them by other means. I was fascinated to think that for one end of the alimentary canal they are advocating disinfection of tooth brushes, without having any idea how many millions of bacteria may be teeming at the other end, in their undergarments because the cleaning has been done only by a tissue wipe!

When I saw a toddler wincing while being wiped with a toilet tissue and again wrapped up in a diaper (diaper is on 24 hours a day), I really felt sorry for the tiny tot. But then he was being dabbed with all sorts of creams to keep the skin smooth and fragrant. Curiosity got over me to think what all creams ladies may be applying to keep off the smell of blood during their menstrual cycle. Also, I couldn’t help musing; do they use water to clean at least before their most intimate moments, especially before the auxiliary methods?

Finally, we can’t ignore the ecological aspect. Thousands of trees are felled every year to manufacture those tons of toilet papers. The garbage generated is also in gigantic proportions. Usage of water involves neither of these problems.

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