Words painted on the inner side of the toilet doors in the Alliance francaise, Bangalore:

The English translation ( not very clear in the picture) says:

Thou, in here
take on a humble posture
to relieve yourself of your burden
After answering nature's call
After placing in the urn, nature's little gift
Please let flow clear ripples of sheer water
And bring down on this glorious recipient
As`decoration this rounded lid
whose spartan structure like a tomb
Will bury all traces of unpleasant odour
- Alfred de Musset

What a brilliant way to make a boring job sound like a major ritual!

Reminds me of something I heard from my mother's uncle.Apparently When Samuel Johnson met an old lady with a snuff box he asked for a pinch of the stuff in the following words:
"Madam, will you please allow me to dip my digital extremeties into that odoriferous concavity and extract therefrom some pulverised atoms which when blown through my nasal cavities would cause grateful titillation to my olfactoroy nerves?"
10 Responses
  1. Mahadevan Says:

    Mundane things are magnified into memorable ones. I have also read about those lines of Dr.Johnson. But he was the first man to compose an English dictionery on his own. Once a lady pointed out his usage of a wrong word and the great doctor's reply was:

    "Terminological inexactitude", madam'. Please read James Boswell's Life of Dr.Samuel Johnson, which is one of the greatest biographies.

    Those who wrote on the toilet doors of Allianze Francaise, must have been thuoghtful people.

  2. Hip Grandma Says:

    Well put and enough to make one read it at least out of curiosity.I was reminded of an incidence quoted in Trevellyan's 'Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay' when Macaulay was just 3 years old he hurt himself (or burnt his hand -I don't exactly remember) and when a lady enquired about how he was he replied "thank you Ma'am the agony is abated".I wonder is the emoticons and the like that people use these days are taking away something from the beauty of a well expressed language?Dr.Samuel Johnson was brilliant.There is no doubt about it.

  3. LOL- interesting.
    btw u have been tagged- check my post of Oct 15th

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Ha ha ha! what do these imply? we no longer understand or pay heed to things put in a simple "please flush and put the lid down after use". Ah well! another proof of human evolution!

  5. Ardra Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Ardra Says:

    Usha, catching up with your posts and found them fascinating- esp Lebanese Goat- (I too found myself hopelessly haunted after watching "Moondram Pirai"), Red Queen and Living with differences.

    p.s: You Usha and Hip Hop grandmom are two among other bloggers whom, I'd like to meet some day :-)

  7. Usha Says:

    Mahadevan: I too have a weakness for such colourful usages but am incapable of using them myself.
    All the walls in the AF bangalore all adorned with nice quotations but this one, I thought, was very ususual.

    Hipgrandma:I suspect most people who have read it haven't understood the meaning. How else can I explain the condition of the toilets in spite of this poetic reminder? Or perhaps they re so engrossed in reading it that they forget to follow the instruction?

    ITW: done!

    Anon: I think the whole idea of putting a verse there was to create an ambiance which says that a toilet doesn't have to be a dirty place and should be given as much beauty as the lobby. But alas! the message is lost.

    Ardra:Thanks. Yes id like to meet you all too. perhaps when hipgmom is coming to chennai next, if i can make a quick trip to chennai if we could meet in the marina beach?

  8. :), btw, just wondering how you had a camera handy in the toilet ?!

  9. I have been telling my mom that you all should do a Blogger/Blogher meet up. If she's sufficiently enthued, maybe...

  10. Usha Says:

    Orchid: I am there every weekend - I study French there. I took the camera with the intention of taking this picture!

    Pram: i said when she is on a trip to the South next time.