Airplane Smell

It seems that at any given moment on the plane, 75% of the plane is farting.  Sometimes it smells so bad, I’m expecting the oxygen masks to drop any second to come save us before we all pass out.   It’s already so loud that people don’t have to worry about being busted by sound.  And anytime someone farts, there are a good 2-3 rows worth of suspects, so it’s impossible to pinpoint anyone.  You can’t even give the look to anyone (like you’d do on the bus when the guy next to you farts, with your eyes saying “really?”).  The real reason you can’t give the look is because 5 minutes ago you probably farted yourself.

It’s practically impossible to keep it in on the plane.  They feed you that disgusting food, and you’re already travelling so your whole stomach routine is out of whack, so you’re farting extra as it is anyways.  Some people think they can sneak one in without anyone noticing, and most of the time they’re right.  You can sneak one in.  The whole plane already smells like one big fart, a small one is going to completely unnoticed.  The problem is when you lay one, and realize it’s even stronger than the stink already present in the air.  No one wants to accuse you outright, so they just fidget around uncomfortably in their seat, and open all the air vents within arm’s reach.  You cover your nose and look disgusted to try and divert the blame.

Some people like to do the drive by – they get up to “stretch their legs”, but in reality they’re just walking by rows on the other end of the plane to lay some.  Sometimes I feel like telling them “Excuse me, the farting on our side of the plane is already bad enough as it is.  Can you please stow your stinky butt back to your seat? We all know what you’re doing here.”

The absolute worst is when you get a seat in one of the last two rows near the lavatory (why are stow and lavatory words that are only ever used on the plane?).  This is the equivalent to spending 6 hours in communal port-a-potty – except this time you get to wear a seat belt.  Your smell senses don’t even adjust to the smell, because every time it’s a different person with unique a smell coming out of the bathroom.   The stink coming from the bathroom is so putrid that this is one of those rare times in life when farting actually makes the air smell better.

The Hands Free Lotas

Let’s clear one thing up – no one actually enjoys using the lota; it’s just one of those things that we’re forced to deal with.

You will frequently hear lota users say, “These other people are gross, they don’t even wash themselves after they go to the bathroom.”  For all you innocent and non-desis out there, these people arent saying wash their hands, they’re saying wash themselves (i.e. their butt).  To these people I say: You just washed your freshly dumped butt with your bare hands, and other people are gross?  Just think about it for a minute.

The thing is, washing your butt with your hand is never really a good idea.  No matter how hard you scrub your hand with soap, it’s still going to stink for a few hours (similar to the hybrid smell of air freshener + poop stench).  This is why everyone loves the hands free lotas.  These come in a variety of types, shapes, colours and sizes, but they all accomplish the same objective – they give your butt a shower and keep your hands clean.  I know there are some of you lota purists out there who think you can’t get clean without wipes.

There are some days where you really need the hands free lota because you know it’s going to be pretty nasty down there, and no amount of toilet paper is going to make the situation good.  These are times when you’re forced into taking a shower after going to the bathroom.  This is where a hand shower comes in handy – otherwise to get a good clean, you’ll need to ‘assume the position’, which you quickly realize is ineffective and awkward.

Also on a side note, men are disgusting.  If you’ve ever been to a gym locker room, you can’t help but notice all the men walking around with brown-stained underwear.  Try as hard as you like to avoid it, but when some dude suddenly walks in front of you wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys, with a bis-ass brown stain on the rear, trust me, you’ll notice.  Most of the female readers probably don’t have the luxury of knowing this (unless you’re married to a gross husband).  I know using toilet paper is difficult, but please, at least make some effort.   I’m just going to go ahead and assume that women don’t have this problem (or at least I’d like to assume that).

Toilet Paper

You can always tell how cheap someone is by the quality of the toilet paper in their bathroom.  If spending an additional $5 over 3 months isn’t worth preventing their butts from being wiped with cardboard-like-toilet-paper, then this my friends is a very cheap man.  Also, anyone who buys 1-ply toilet paper should be ashamed of themselves.

Public bathrooms are the worst – most of them have 1 ply toilet paper rolls that are the size of watermelons (see above) and are way too abrasive.  Some of these public bathrooms are so cheap, they don’t even stock real toilet paper.  It’s that weird plastic-y paper they wrap your hamburgers in at McDonald’s.  That stuff doesn’t even absorb anything, and you have to wipe carefully so you don’t give yourself a paper cut.

Surprisingly, toilet paper has multiple uses other than just wiping your butt.  One of it’s most productive uses is to prevent the horrible “poop splash back”.  We experience it all the time – poop goes flying into the toilet bowl creating a big splashback, where a few milliliters of urine-poop-infused- water goes flying back on to your butt.  You’re lucky your butt was in the way, otherwise it would have come all the way out  and who knows what it would’ve hit.  But this is one reason (of many) why underwear is gross, and you should never wear the same underwear on successive days unless it has been washed in between.  Some sickos think the shelf life of underwear between wash is multiple days.  It is 1 day at THE MOST.  You would think this is common sense, but as we all know, there are some pretty gross people out there.  Anyways, the splashback is prevented by putting a layer or two of TP on the water in the bowl.  That way the TP breaks the fall, and voila, no splashback!

Another common use of TP is to “lay the nest” on the toilet seat before you use a public bathroom.  Most public bathrooms have those toilet seat covers, but I can never pull one of those out without either ripping it to shreds, or pulling like 10 of them out at the same time.  Using TP is much easier, and you can stack as many layers as you want.  The downside is that TP absorbs stuff, so sometiems when you sit down on the tip, you feel some wetness on your thighs (a strong indicator you didnt use enough layers!).  This is the complete inverse of the previous problem, where you’d want that hamburger paper seat cover since it doesn’t absorb anything.

One thing that amazes me is the fact that people look at the TP after each wipe.  I know this because I do it, so I assume everyone else does too.  How else are you going to know you’re done?  But the best is when you even shock yourself.  You think you did this super clean poop, and are expecting your TP to be completely white, but instead it’s so brown, that you can’t even do the fold and re-wipe cuz it’s too dangerous (don’t pretend like you don’t do it…when you take enough TP for a wipe, then a fold and a rewipe).  It’s always pleasant when the inverse happens, and you’re expecting it to be nasty, but the TP comes back completely clean.

Also who invented coloured toilet paper? That stuff should be made illegal.  The colour of poop is bad enough, but it scares the hell out of you when your poop suddenly looks yellow because you’re wiping with pink toilet paper, or green with blue toilet paper.

Frequently, in a bathroom in a Muslim household, the toilet paper will have these massive fingerprint marks that have soaked through the entire roll of toilet paper.  Some of you might not even question why those marks are there, especially if those finger marks have dried out.  The reality is, after you’re done using your lota and wiping your butt, you now most certainly need to finish the job off with some toilet paper since your butt is dripping wet.  In this situation, your hand is also dripping wet.  Unfortunately, some people make the unwise decision of using their wet hand to get some toilet paper.  This roll of toilet paper is now tainted by a hand that has freshly wiped poop.  This essentially creates a quasi-”second hand toilet paper” situation (similar to butt deflected water on the floor), where the toilet paper you are using has specs of someone else’s poop on it.

Of course, there’s the no toilet paper scenario, made famous by Seinfled, where you beg the person next to you for a square.  But unfortunately when you’re at someone else’s home you have no one to beg to.  You don’t even know where they keep the spare toilet paper.  You go to the obvious choice – kleenex behind the you.  But if that’s not there you’re totally screwed.  You get desperate, and start using shreds of cardboard left behind by the toilet paper roll.

That is why you should do your guests a service and leaves tons of toilet paper out in the open for everyone to see.  And you should do your guests a service by buying high quality toilet paper.  Look at those ads with babies and kittens bouncing around with the toilet paper, that’s the one you should be buying.

 

Workplace Bathrooms and Workplace Lotas

At the workplace, everyone wants to pretend that their coworkers don’t go #2; kinda like women and farting – we all know it happens, but no one really acknowledges its existence. Walking out of a bathroom stall at the workplace feels like confessing to a crime for some reason (at least for men).  As soon as you come out from behind the door, you have to do the walk of shame to the sink to wash your hands.  You know people are staring from the corner of their eye thinking ‘Oh, that was you making those plopping sounds in there’.

We all need a sense of privacy in the bathroom, and this is why there are so many unwritten rules, like no excessive talking. By talking, you reveal to everyone you’re in the bathroom, and everyone from behind other stalls or at the urinals knows its you that’s taking that gross dump.  So many people aren’t aware of this no excessive/loud talking rule, and they blab with extremely loud voices conversing while they’re in a stall.  If you’re one of these people you need to realize that talking about your family vacation to Disneyland while you squeeze out that sour-cream-cheese-ground-beef-bean-burrito you had for lunch is totally unacceptable behavior.

At my last job, we had a relatively small company, so we had one bathroom with 3 stalls for the entire building.  One time I was in there doing wudu, but someone in one of the stalls was having major issues.  Noises galore – grunting, butt noises, water splashing sounds, and other types of noises that to this day I cannot identify.  I tried to do my wudu and get out of there ASAP, but it wasn’t fast enough.  And of course the person walking out of the stall just happened to be my boss’s boss.  When he came out, I could see he felt like I had just witnessed the most shameful thing he’s ever done in his life.  The awkwardness of that moment was tremendous – I should have asked for a raise or promotion right there in the bathroom.  This is why bathrooms and workplace don’t work, because it becomes difficult to see people the same way, at least for the next few days. That person no longer has any credibility in the next meeting we have together.

I like to make sure that the bathroom is empty when I get out of the stall.  But sometimes you can’t really do that because its rush hour.  Rush hour is usually about 1 hour after peak lunch time, and is the time when you have to wait a few minutes to get to a stall, a urinal, or even a sink because it seems like the entire company is there.  I try to avoid the bathroom during those times; it’s not just that you have to wait, but for some reason at that time people are taking their most potent dumps.  The increased frequency of customers and their increased potency don’t make for a good combination.  Rush hour should be avoided at all costs.

But like I was saying, sometimes you can’t exit the stall because it’s rush hour, or it’s just generally busy.  At this point you have to coordinate your stall exit with someone else in another stall.  Of course this coordination is done silently, there is no official acknowledgement of this event taking place.  You hear the person next to you flush, you immediately take advantage and flush/exit seconds later.  You still have to do the walk of shame, but at least this time you have some company.  If there were any noises involved, you can at least get off knowing there is reasonable doubt it was you, and since he came out first, most people already think it’s him.

For Muslim men – going to the bathroom at work is doubly awkward.  Mainly because they tend to use the stalls for #1 AND because they need to find a way to use a lota in there. Using a urinal is totally unacceptable.  For all you women out there who don’t know, urinals provide an extremely high probability of tiny drops of urine splashing back from the urinal onto your hands and your pants.  Anyone who claims this doesn’t happen is flat out lying. Splashbacks don’t happen all the time, but they happen frequently enough that you can pretty much be certain majority of men are walking around with small drops of urine all over the front of their pants.  But since many Muslim’s use the stall for #1 (but usually stand in public bathrooms), we have to deal with the awkwardness coworkers witnessing us walking into stalls all the time (which has the perception of the intention to commit a crime), even if you’re only going in there for #1.

Throw a lota into the mix, and now everything gets a little wacky.  This work lota usually takes the form of a disposable water/coffee cup that you get from the kitchen, fill up at the bathroom sink, and then take into the stall with you.  This lota isn’t meant to be perfect, but it is the best possible lota in these kinds of situations. Majority of the time this sort of action is accompanied subtle stares from people at the sink thinking ‘Why is Mo taking coffee into the stall with him?’

A mystery person at my work seems to have worked around this embarassing scenario. Regularly at work I would see a disposable cup of water sitting next to the toilet bowl.  He just leaves it there so next time he has to go, there’s a lota already waiting for him. He knows no one is going to move it, because let’s be honest, who wants to move a random cup of water sitting next to a gross public toilet?  But there is one problem with this, what if the stall with the lota is already taken? He can’t start planting cups of water in all the stalls, that’s way too suspicious, people will start flipping out.  They’ll call in the police or the security team to investigate what’s going on if there were cups of water on the floor in all the stalls in all the bathrooms at the company.  But this guy realized this problem too, and eventually started keeping his cup of water against the back wall, right under the stall divider.  This now means he can go to any one of two stalls and still be able to use his lota.  Witnessing the guy reach over to the stall divider and pick up the water is pretty scary experience though, it tends to freak people out when they’re sitting on the toilet, and someone pretty much reaches into your stall to grab a cup of water (and then quickly places it back right where he grabbed it from).

Also, don’t even think about doing the hand wipe with any of these work lotas, this is a toilet paper operation only for #2.  Go all out for #1, but #2 is off limits.  There is no way any human being should be making that walk from the stall to sink with a wet hand that has just wiped his own butt.  Remember, it already feels like a crime coming out of that stall, no need to make yourself look even more guilty.  Full out lota experiences are not practical in these situations, and they should be avoided.  This where you need to do the hybrid approach, combine the cup of water with toilet paper.  All wipes should happen with the wet toilet paper.  Not 100% effective, but it gets the job done.

People who work at an all Muslim place don’t really have this problem, but those places end up feeling like Masjid Bathrooms.  In the end, strive to move up the company ladder to get yourself access to your own personal executive bathroom.  Then you can freely use the bathroom without looking over your shoulder, and use any kind of lota you want.

The Hotel Room Lota

Trips where we stay at someone else’s house are fine, because there is the expectation that there will be a lota there.  But when you’re staying a hotel, if you haven’t had time to swing by your local McDonald’s and pick up a super-size coke, you’re going to be using that tiny glass in your hotel bathroom.

You just drove for 7 hours straight, skipped over all the nasty gas station and McDonald’s bathrooms along the way so you could get to this nice clean bathroom in your hotel room. Without even thinking twice you grab the glass next to the coffee maker, fill the glass up with water, and proceed to use it as your lota.

Sadly, this is the same glass people use to drink water when they stay at a hotel.  Some people are scared to touch various things in a hotel room – the carpet, the mattress, the sheets, etc.  But the number one thing you should be scared to touch, let alone drink out of, is that hotel room glass.  And it’s not because of other random gross people, it’s because of gross people like you.

The hotel staff must see it every once in a while, where the glass is sitting next to the toilet bowl.  I wonder what they must think.  I’m sure most people brush it off, since they only see it once in a while.  The problem is probably more apparent when there’s an Islamic Conference going on somewhere nearby, and Muslims have booked the entire hotel.  They must see glasses next to toilets in every single room.  The worst part is, the next day, when they’ve washed the glasses and put them back on the counters, you have no idea which one was used for the lota, and which one was used for drinking.  All the glasses are contaminated now.

As for the lota itself – this is by far one of the worst possible lotas anyone could ever use. These glasses are so small you need 4 or 5 refills to get through a bathroom experience. Even if you grab all 4 glasses in the hotel room (the 2 next to the coffee maker and the 2 in the bathroom) and fill them all up, you still have to deal with the issue of controlling the flow.  You can’t even do the pour/pause routine you do with the milk jug lota. These glasses empty out in under 1 second when you pour, and the water goes all over the place.

Also, I argue that it’s impossible to use this thing for #2.  Anyone who claims they’ve used this for #2 is lying or is walking around with a really dirty butt.  You simply can’t have a pour long enough that will enable you to get subsequent wipes in.  It can’t be done.  Do us all a favour – drive to the nearest McDonald’s and get yourself a super-size Coke, drink as much of it as you can, dump the rest, and use a sane travel lota like the rest of us.

Summary: The Hotel Room Lota
Pros: Your only hope in the hotel bathroom if you haven’t planned in advance
Cons: No spout, can’t control water flow, no handle, small capacity, next person to stay in same hotel room is risking their health by drinking water out of your lota, can’t be used for #2

Rating: (out of 5 lotas)

 

 

This post is part of our new Lota Reviews segment.  Every few days we review a different lota, and talk about its applicable situations along with its pros and cons.

Eid Special: The Eid Hug List

One of the best part about Eid is that after the salat is over, you get to go around hugging people.  Sadly, it seems a ton of people don’t know how to execute the Eid hug, or add their own customizations to it, thus making it totally awkward for the normal Eid hugger.

For all you people getting ready for Eid tomorrow, this is the standard and socially acceptable way to perform an Eid hug:

  • (Optional) Shake the persons hand first
  • Say Salaam
  • Perform a hug, with your head going on the right side of the person, and both arms around the persons back
  • From this first hug, fluidly move to a second hug on the left side, then back to the right side for a third and final hug
  • Either say “Eid Mubarak!”, the appropriate dua or something else along those lines while performing the hug.  Sorry but “Happy Eid” or “Merry Eid” are unacceptable (and those of you who say that should be ashamed of yourself).
  • After the hugging, perform one final handshake
  • Bonus points: smile and put your other hand on top of the handshake.
Even though this should be well understood by everyone, it seems some people don’t follow this convention.  They think they can do their own thing.  Other times you find yourself in awkward situations just because of circumstances.  Alas, I give you the list of the Eid hugs you are likely to encounter in these days of celebration:

The I will never let go of your hand Hug
This is by far the most common faux-pas in Eid hugs.  This guy shakes your hand, but then never lets go.  You end up having the hand between your body as you proceed to do the 3 hugs.  A hug is meant to be done with two hands, let go of my hand and give me a real Eid hug! Maybe this guy is trying to be efficient, since he knows he has to shake hands at the beginning and the end, he decides he might as well keep a hold of it to save the extra 5 milliseconds it takes to reach your hand forward a second time.

The One Hug
This is when the guy you’re hugging doesn’t do the traditional 3 hugs, he just does one and bounces.  He saves the 3 hugs for only those he considers worthy.

The Two Hug
This is when the guy does two iterations, but doesn’t do the third.  The guy doing The One Hug is just lazy or doesn’t like you.  What’s this guy’s excuse? Plus, doesn’t he know that the Prophet (s) is a fan of odd numbers?  He should be ashamed of himself.

The Armpit hug
This usually happens when you’re hugging someone way taller than you.  Instead of getting your head above his shoulder, your face gets pressed against his armpit in each iteration of the hug.  You just have to pray he’s also not a person who hands out the hug below.

The B.O. Hug
This guy smells so bad you can catch a whiff of him from a few meters away.  You try to escape and pretend like you didn’t see him, but it’s too late, he’s coming in for the hug. You make a small dua that this guy is one of those one-huggers, because you don’t know if you’ll be able to last all 3.  If you’re wondering why you’re getting way less Eid hugs this year than last, it’s likely because last Eid you stank and everyone’s avoiding you this time.

The Second Hand B.O Hug
This happens after you hug someone with B.O. so strong, that it sticks to you for the rest of the Eid Huggings.  Everyone you hug from that point on will think you don’t bathe or use deodorant.  But you have to try to get that smell off you, so you go find the nicest smelling people and hug them for extra long to try and catch some of their smell.

The Rejected
This is when you make eye contact with someone, go in for the hug, only to find out this guy never saw you; he was going in for the hug with the guy behind you.  When this happens, you immediately look around and hope no one noticed.

The Interception
Similar to the rejected hug, but in this case you go in for the hug anyways, not caring this person doesn’t want to hug you.

The Double Take
Before you hug this guy, you go into a deep discussion of whether or not you’ve already done the Eid Mubarak hug yet.

The Business Eid Hug
This guy just wants to get to work, so he’ll barely stop to hug anyone on his way out the door.  As you give him the final handshake his arm is stretched away because he’s already moved on from you.

The I Can’t Hug You
This is when you go in for the hug, but the guy’s like “I missed Eid Salat, I can’t hug you yet.”

The World Record Hugger
This guy is the one trying to set the world record for the greatest number of people he can hug.  As soon as salat is over, this guy is whizzing through hugging everyone he sees.  Each hug lasts for under 1 second, each iteration for 1/3 of a second. Right, Left, Right, boom. Next!

The Kiss Hug
Obvious – when the 3 hugs are accompanied by a kiss on each cheek.  More of a middle eastern thing, but still very popular.

The Wet Hug Part #1
This is the guy that gives the kisses 3 times, but instead of doing your standard Arab cheek kiss/peck, this joker slobbers all over you.  You just hope this guy isn’t also the B.O hugger, otherwise you end up smelling like this guy’s body, breath, and breakfast.

The Wet Hug Part #2
This guy is really suffering with the crappy AC, and his back is totally drenched.  Not fun putting your arms around this guy.  This is one case where it’s a good idea to not let go of the handshake.  The less hands touching his back the better.

The Head Cruncher
This weirdo insists on pressing his head against yours in each of the three hugs. Nothing really wrong with it, but after you’re done, you’re left wondering what just happened.

The Bonus Hug
This guy just loses count, and ends up handing out more than 3 hugs.

The Around the World Hug
This guy gives such wide hugs that his head goes outside the radius of your arms. It feels like he’s trying to have a conversation with someone behind you and you’re just blocking his way.

The Stranger Hug
This is when you accidentally make eye contact with someone you don’t know.  Neither of you want to hug each other, but once eye contact is made you have no choice, the hug must take place.  It’s like an unwritten rule.  The jerks here won’t give out a hug, and they’ll just shake your hand and say Eid Mubarak.

The Head Clonker
This is when two people go for the hug, not coordinating which side they’re starting from resulting in their heads clonking.

The Man Hug
This is when instead of doing a proper Eid hug, guys do their traditional shoulder side hug.  This is likely done to avoid certain parts of their body from touching the other guy’s certain part of the body.

The Scandalous Hug
This is when two unrelated people of the opposite gender perform the full out Eid hug. If an aunty or uncle see you, expect them to go ask your parents if you’re secretly engaged.  If you end up doing this to your cousin, and aunties and uncles see you, you can pretty much consider yourself married to that cousin now.

The Hand Cruncher
This guy gives such crazy handshakes that the only thing you’re thinking about during the 3 hugs is how do you avoid the final handshake with this guy.

Eid Mubarak! 

Shaq’s Lota

Shaquille O’Neal has a lot going for him, he’s famous basketball player, a celebrity, has lots of money and is generally a well liked guy.  A lot of people wish they had his success.   But alas there is the great equalizer of all human beings – the toilet.  No matter who you are, how much money you make, where you come from, or where you went to school, we all have to go the bathroom.  And we all get stomach flu at one point or another, Shaq included.  Benjamin Franklin should have added a third element that is certain in life – death, taxes and many trips to the toilet.

This is one aspect of life where Shaq should be envious of the rest of us.  I would assume Shaq cannot use a regular toilet to go #2.  There is no way he could sit on one of those toilet bowls.  Now this has to prove to be very difficult for someone like him, because he has to constantly be aware of where he’s going, and if there’s going to be a place for him to go, especially if he’s sick.

“Hey Shaq, let’s go to the baseball game today!”

“Sorry, I’m not feeling well today, I need to stay close to my home toilet.”

 

In these difficult moments of life, he can’t go at the mall, he can’t go to award shows, he can’t come to your house for dinner, he can’t go anywhere.  All because they wont have a toilet big enough for him to sit on.  There’s no way even a single cheek of his would fit on a regular toilet seat.  Hundreds of millions of dollars, all the fame in the world, but yet when he’s sick to his stomach, he’s totally screwed if he’s not home.

But yet we still see Shaq at all these public places.  Even when he’s not sick, he must need to go sometimes at places outside his home.  How does he do it? I suspect he carries around a toilet seat adapter in his car, so everywhere he goes, he has an emergency plan.  The adapter would go on top of the normal toilet, and would funnel everything down.  This would also add some much needed height to the toilet as well, because if he sat on a normal seat his knees would be going higher than his head.  This solves the going to the bathroom problem, but creates a brand new one.  How does he clean the adapter? I think he has enough money that he probably doesn’t need to clean the adapter, he just leaves it in the public restroom, making it the janitor’s problem.  No one else respects the public toilet, so why should he?  So if you ever walk into to a public restroom and see this massive adapter on the toilet, it probably means Shaq is somewhere nearby.

Since Shaq is Muslim, I would hope he also has to worry about using a lota.  Which brings me to another point, what does Shaq’s lota look like?  If a regular toilet isn’t big enough for him, surely a regular lota will not be big enough for him.  He wouldn’t even be able to get his fingers into the handle of your average lota.  Even if he somehow managed to pick up the smaller lota, he would also need something with 3-4 times the average lota capacity for a normal human being.  That would mean multiple refill trips.  And as mentioned in the Milk Jug Lota post, lota refill trips are one of the worse possible situations a person can find themselves in.

All aspects of Shaq’s lota must be massive, the capacity, the handle, and even the spout.  But how would he fit that massive lota under the sink?  Maybe he has to pour water from a smaller lota into a bigger lota first.

So despite Shaq having all these difficulties, let’s reverse the roles a little bit.  Imagine finding yourself in Shaq’s bathroom, with Shaq’s lota.  Aside from avoiding the obvious issue of avoiding falling into his toilet, you would also need to figure out how to use his lota.  The lota will likely be so heavy when its filled with water that it would be too difficult to pour.  And if you only filled it up with a little bit of water, you’d practically need to turn the lota upside down to get any water to come out of the spout.

Summary: Shaq’s Lota
Pros: Good for people of Shaq’s size, can almost guarantee avoiding any refill trips for normal people.
Cons: Too heavy, difficult to use, too much spout interference due to long spout, expensive due to being custom made, difficult to fill with water.

Rating: (out of 5 lotas)

This post is part of our new Lota Reviews segment.  Every few days we review a different lota, and talk about its applicable situations along with its pros and cons.

Paan stained…toenails?

Over the past few years with Ramadan being in the summer, you’ll see more and more people concerned with the AC at the masjid.  Standing in taraweeh is hard enough for some already, try doing it in a packed masjid with an inadequate AC.  I’ve always been concerned with something else though – standing next to an uncle with disgusting feet.

Because its summer, more and more people are also coming to the masjid in chappal (flip-flops).  Now I’m all for freedom of the feet, but have you seen the toenails on some of these uncles?  It’s insane, it’s like this orangy-yellow thing that you’d expect to be growing on rotten food.  And it’s not just one or two uncles, its practically half of the uncles at the masjid.   I don’t know what these people have done to their big toe for it to end up in such a state.

One of my biggest fears in life is that one day my toe will slowly end up in that state as well.  You look at some of these uncles and they look totally normal from the foot up, you would never in a million years think they’re walking around with a perma-yellowish-orange-black-green big toe.  Other uncles its obvious from the moment you see them, you know their big toe is going to be gross and disgusting.  Hell, some of them you know both their big toes are like that.

The crazy part is, these arent just the super old uncles, these are young uncles with young kids.  If it was just the old ones I could understand, 50-60 years of abuse from walking around, wearing chappal in Pakistan/India while doing manual labour would take its toll on anyone’s feet.  But the thing is, most of these are desi uncles, they’re lazy, and have gotten other people to do their manual labour for them their whole lives.  And they’ve been living away from the homeland for many years now.  And they’re in their 30s or 40s!

The scary part is when the imam tells us to stand toe to toe.  First thing you do is look down and make a little dua that the people next to you have normal toes, or that they’re wearing socks.  The worst is when you stand next to someone with the mushroom growing on their toenails, and that person decides he’s not just going to stand toe to toe, he’s going to dig his toenails to the side of your foot.  Even if he’s not standing toe-to-toe, its a constant distraction in your prayer.  The only thing worse would be if he’s one of the same guy’s who doesn’t use deodorant.  In fact, given his toes are like that, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he stank as well.

Last week at the masjid, it suddenly dawned on me, as I saw a group of uncles standing at the entrance laughing.  It was as if they were laughing in slow motion when I noticed the correlation – paan stains on the uncle’s teeth are a strong indicator of the presence of the yellow toe.  I don’t know how or why that makes sense, but its true.  Look at the guy on the left, there’s no way he has normal toes.  Next time you’re at the masjid, just do an informal poll after taraweeh when everyone is standing around talking.  Hunt out the uncles with the toes, then crack a joke to try and make them smile.  It’s almost guaranteed their teeth and their toenails will be the exact same colour.  If you’re having trouble getting them to smile, just offer them some paan, and that uncle will instantly grin revealing his teeth.

The Milk Jug Lota

 

The Milk Jug is by far the most common of all lotas, especially in Canada.  It is readily available at almost every grocery store, is inexpensive, and on the surface looks like a perfect lota.  However, if you dig in a little a deeper, you’ll notice the very many flaws this lota actually has.

Now all of you non-Canadians might be looking at this and thinking, “What exactly does this lota have to do with milk?”  Well, in Canada, majority of people buy milk bags instead of cartons.  They put the bag in the milk jug, snip the corner of the bag, and voila, you have now have a reusable jug that serves milk, and produces alot less waste than your traditional milk carton.

The fact of the matter is, these things don’t even make good devices to pour milk out of, so how will they make good lotas?  The reason it’s so popular is because it’s so readily available.  And sadly that has led to people ‘accepting’ it as the lota.  When Canadians think lota, they think about the milk jug.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The most obvious flaw with this lota is the fact that it lacks a spout.  For those of you that don’t know, a spout is essential to a good lota experience, because it controls the flow of the water.  A non-controlled flow from the lota results in spillage onto the seat, and will also empty out the water from the lota faster than you anticipated.  Sadly, without a spout, you’re forced to use the lota in spurts, where every half second you do a small pour and wipe simultaneously.

If you’re observant, you’ll notice you develop a rhythm and a beat while using this lota. Pour, pause, pour, pause, etc.  However, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the quantity of water in the lota.  If you get too caught up in the beat, you’ll run out of water, and will end up with a pour, pause, pour, pause, empty pour.  Since you’re synchronizing your wipes with your pours, and empty pour will result in the dreaded dry wipe (hopefully no explanation needed, because none will be provided).

Some rookies not used to the milk jug aren’t really ready for the gushing water that this lota will provide, and as result pour down the entire jug in a matter of 2 seconds, and realize they’re not even close to completion.  This results in the always horrible refill attempt.  Your one hand is gross, the other hand is holding the lota, and now you need to refill this thing.  You better pray this bathroom has the sink within arms reach, otherwise you’re in for a world of trouble.  Walking with your underwear around your ankles, a dripping wet butt, a dripping gross hand, and an empty lota is never good for business.

The handle does make life easier, but aside from that there arent too many positives about this lota.  I guess if ever you need an emergency lota, you can always run to the fridge and get one.  But it can also work the other way.  At McGill University one time, they used milk jugs to serve milk to the 300 or so iftaar attendees.  Due to the larger than expected turnout, there were rumours that they had to borrow some of the milk jugs from the musalla’s bathroom.

Summary:
Pros: Readily available, has handle, cheap
Cons: No spout, difficult to control flow, can double as a milk jug (but not a good one)

Rating: (out of 5 lotas)

This post is part of our new Lota Reviews segment.  Each week, we review a different lota, and talk about its pros and cons.

Ramadan and Body Odor

Everyone likes to think they don’t smell.  Have you ever gone to the zoo, and gone to the area with all the gorillas or the monkeys?  You know that smell?  This is what you smell like when you don’t use deodorant.

I’m going a little off topic here from bathrooms and lotas, but this needs to be said.  I don’t know what it is about Muslims, but for some reason so many of them think their deodorant lasts for the entire month.  It’s Ramadan, and everything gets enhanced – people’s generosity, their honesty, their piety, but also unfortunately their body odor.

This is especially true In the last 10 nights, when the masjid is like a 24 hour fitness gym. People are rolling in and out at all times of the day and night to get their spiritual workout. They feel better about their deen, and develop a better self-Islamic image of themselves. But they also end up making the Masjid smell like a 24 hour gym too.

It’s already hot outside, and you walk into the prayer hall and the muggy stench hits you like you just walked into a public washroom in Pakistan.  It’s like a sauna, but all the humidity is from people’s sweat.  It’s especially worse in smaller masjids, where there is absolutely no room, and you have to stick your head out an open window in between 4 rakats to prevent yourself from passing out.

The worse part is when you end up praying next to someone who stinks.  It’s like their fasting breath is oozing out of their pores somehow.  Instead of concentrating on prayer, you’re busy setting world records of how long you can hold your breath.  After 2 rakats, you quickly hope for a spot to open up somewhere nearby.  You see it, you dash to it, not even bothering with the normal politeness of offering the spot to someone else.  You smile with a sense of accomplishment.  But 2 seconds later it hits you…now you’re sandwiched between two people with a B.O. problem.  It gets a little bit worse when the Imam is like “stand toe to toe, shoulder to shoulder”.  Whatever buffer space you had was taken away, and now space is so tight you’re overlapping.  His armpit is practically in front of your face now.  This is when you pretend you broke your wudu and get the heck out of there.

If you’re reading this post and thinking “Oh wow, I never realized this problem was that bad”, then sadly my friend, this post is about you. We all know about this problem…your problem, which is now suddenly my problem when I’m praying.

I know what you’re thinking, “but I don’t smell that bad?”  You do, just no one has the heart to tell you.  We all stink, it’s just that some of us make an effort to cover it up.  You smell, and the worse part about it is, everyone knows you as the stinky guy.  And the more time that goes between cover-ups, the smell just compounds and gets worse and worse.  Your clothes absorb the B.O. too, and no amount of washing is going to help that shirt now. Do any of the following describe you:

  • “Well I showered this morning, and that is better than deodorant.  Now I shall smell good for the rest of this hot summer day.”
  • “What should I wear today? Oh I know, the shirt I wore all day yesterday at work, and also at taraweeh.” (think about the gorilla – if he wore a shirt for 5 minutes it would smell like him forever.  You have decided to wear this shirt 2 days in a row in summer)
  • “My sweat has dried from this shirt. That means this shirt is clean. I can fold this shirt and use it on another day.”
  • “Hmm…I’m out of deodorant. I’ll pick some up on the way back from taraweeh”
  • “I’m too busy doing worship, I don’t have time to brush my teeth or put on some deodorant”
If any of the above sound familiar to you, it’s not too late.  It’s the last 10 nights, time for you to step up your game hygiene-wise as well.  Time to follow the sunnah, and make yourself smell nice.

Mrs. Lota tells me this is a problem in the sisters section as well.  I would have expected the sisters section to smell like roses.  But apparently some women think they can hide their odor under their abayaas, not realizing that scent easily passes through cotton. Some of these men unfortunately don’t even hide it, they just flat out stink.

We should hire bouncers at Masjids to not let people in if they don’t meet a certain smell criteria.  These bouncers would need to have a heightened sense of smell, so either a blind person or a scent-trained dog would make a good candidate.  We could redirect the culprits to a hose down area, or sell them deodorant at an incredible markup.  Or during the announcement part of the night the bouncer can give the names of all the people that smell to the imam, and he can read them out loud – “There is a blue honda accord with license plate 45Z 7HG blocking the handicap ramp at the hospital across the street.  And also, brother Jamal, praying in the second row smells.  Would the owner of the car please move it so hospital doesn’t call the police, and would the wife of Jamal please bring him some deodorant.”