Published: 01st June 2018
Here's why you should NEVER stop your kid from peeing when they want to
Author Neha Singh's latest book, I Need to Pee tells us why we must not reprimand children when they express their desire to use the loo anywhere, anytime
Imagine taking a road trip. You've got the wind in your hair, the beautiful scenery whizzing past you, the perfect road trip music. But there is one thing you don't have. A toilet! So you resist the urge to gulp down bottles of water, in fear of having to take a trip to a loo that might be dirty, stinky and without water. This is just one scenario. We've all needed to control our bladders at some point and in some cases, we've even told children to 'hold it' as well.
Actor Kalki Koechlin is a good friend of Neha's. "I felt that she would be the perfect person to endorse the book and its idea. Kalki read the book, liked it a lot and agreed to write about it," beams Neha
While we, as adults, may show self-restraint, Rahi, the protagonist of Neha Singh's book I Need to Pee doesn't hold back on drinking fluids or exercising her right to pee anywhere, whether she is on a train with deplorable toilets or on a bus, where she has to pee outside, much to her mother's dismay. But like many good ideas, did Neha also stumble upon hers while in the loo? Quite the opposite actually. She drew from her own "harrowing experience of finding good and safe public toilets," while commuting by bus from Bhopal to Mumbai.
Page one: The character of Rahi is based on Neha's niece
Cleverly illustrated by Bengaluru-based illustrators Meenal Singh and Erik Egerup, the book doesn't shy away from showing dirty urinals, but in an aesthetic way that makes us stare in wonder and not cringe in disgust. And this is because, as Neha puts it, "the truth always makes for compelling illustrations." And certainly, they didn't hold back from depicting reality. For example, "the picture of Rahi peeing and staring down the hole of an Indian-style toilet in a train, watching the tracks below whiz by, is something Indians connect to."
Rahi has a 'Book of Important Quotes', which, Singh tells us, is actually “a tongue-in-cheek device to remind us that often, children are far more honest, logical and unscathed by 'societal norms' and it's the adults who need to listen to them”
What Neha wants to convey through her book is that we must all collectively stop trying to shame children when it comes to their need to use the toilet outside. "I want children to find a voice, a vocabulary to express their needs and I hope that in Rahi they will find an ally who is just like them and can inspire them to be upfront and unabashed about their toilet needs," says Neha, adding that, "the book is a reminder for grown-ups to start respecting children's basic needs and not shame them into submission."
You can buy the book at https://amzn.to/2GR8EKR