One Wipe to Rule Them All
One Wipe to Rule Them All

How one man found the in-between to a chambu and toilet paper.

"One wipe" (Aleesha Nandhra for The Juggernaut)

Tears trickled down my face as I sat on the toilet on the first day of preschool. Corduroys and Batman undies between my ankles, I scanned the bathroom in vain. I couldn’t find a chambu here in a preschool in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hearing desperate pleas for my mother, my teacher knocked at the door, concerned. I continued to cry, unable to express what was amiss in my native tongue of Telugu. Gingerly opening the door, my teacher, a white Canadian, entered and asked what was wrong. She pointed to the toilet paper roll to my right. Unable to speak English, I vigorously shook my head in dissent. After a few frustrating minutes of me pointing to the tap, she somehow inferred that the mysterious chambu I sought was a mug of water. With the honorable disposition of a blue-helmeted Canadian United Nations peacekeeper, she mercifully retrieved a Dixie cup from the water cooler and washed me at last.

Only later would I realize that I had been caught in the middle of a great global battle, one largely separated by the East-West dichotomy. 

From prehistoric times, man has used a remarkable variety of instruments for cleaning up after the act. Nothing has been off-limits. We’ve used leaves, grass, corn cobs, animal furs, snow, and seashells. Over time, we’ve come to two schools of thought: toilet paper and

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