Oh shit, p.1
By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2017 Hiranya Borah
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2nd October, 2019 is the target date for making India open defecation free (ODF). All the stakeholders are taking all necessary steps to achieve this particular goal without any dilution.
I also whole heartedly involved myself in this noble cause and as a part of my duties, I have to go to different places to know about the ground reality of the progress in the direction of declaring entire country ODF. Without saying, it is the greatest success story of modern India. But always there is a funny side of any serious story.
Here I want to tell you some of imaginary stories, not necessarily related with the implementation of the present scheme. The characters described in the stories are fictitious and are not real. If any resemblance of any character is observed, it is mere coincidence only.
Thanks to my readers and friends and above all my family for their constant support to write something usual and unusual. I love them all.
Chapter I: Excursion
Every educated person of our time is having the experience of excursions during their school or college days due to having less number of family outings during those days. In fact, in those days going out of home means going to a relative’s home or to a friend’s home. Excursions from school or college was the only means to travel outside the domain of relatives’ home by the students from middle and lower middle class families.
After Class IX examination, we have arranged an excursion to visit some historical places of Sibsagar district.
Gargaon, the capital town of Ahom Kingdom, who ruled Assam continuously for six hundred years (1228-1826) is a part of Sibsagar (Sagar means sea in Assamese language) district. The name, Sibsagar was derived from a huge man made water tank measuring more than one square mile, constructed during the time of Ahom ruler, Siba Singha. The whole town is situated surrounding this magnificent tank. Sibsagar district boasts of another two huge tanks, constructed under different rulers, namely, Jay-Sagar (In the name of Jaymati, mother queen of the most famous Ahom King, Rudra Singha.) and Gauri Sagar (constructed during the regime of Gauri Singha).
The story of Jaymati is extremely revered for every Assamese. The story of Jaymati goes like this.
Jaymati, a princess of the ruling clan of Assam, was tortured to death on the behest of Lora Raja who was after her Husband, Gadapani in the later part of seventeenth century. She was tortured to know the where-about of her husband, who was absconding to avoid ‘Angakhat’, man with amputated organ. As per Ahom tradition a person cannot be a king if he is short of any organ. The then immature King Lora Raja and his mentor Laluksola Barphukan captured all the eligible and prospective princes for the throne and amputated at least one organ to make them in-eligible to become king. Gadapani was the most powerful prince of that time and liked by most of the generals under Ahom King. Therefore, Lora Raja was wary of this powerful prince and ordered his arrest to make him amputated. However, he got the news before his arrest and left home and went to Nagahills for hiding. Not finding him, the king ordered the arrest of his wife, Jaymati and asked where about of her husband. When she refused to tell where about of her husband she was ordered physical punishment in a public place. She was tied to a thorny tree and was beaten by Choudungs (official employed for punishment) using hunters. After facing inhumane torture for 64 days, she had succumbed to her injuries inflicted on her body. Her death made an uprising by the Generals of Ahom Kingdom which culminated in dethroning of Lora Raja and in coronation of Gadapani as Gadadhar Singha, new King of Ahom Kingdom. Gadhadhar Singha was succeeded by his eldest son, Rudra Singha, the most powerful King of Ahom Kingdom. He had ruled Assam for almost three decades and during his time the Jaysagar tank was constructed in memory of his mother.
To see these historical monuments, we were very excited and contacted few schools located at Sibsagar for free accommodation. However, only one semi Government school agreed to open one class room for our accommodation for three days.
From our village, Sibsagar was hardly 200 Kms but as that time, there was no bridge over mighty Brahmaputra, it took almost one full day to reach Sibsagar after taking the first bus at 6-30 AM from our village. We had to travel by motor launch for two hours to cross Brahmaputra and to take another bus from, Silghat the other bank of the river. Finally, when we reached Sibsagar, it was half past seven in the evening.
The night watchman opened one room for us. When we asked for the location of the bathroom, he showed his 32 teeth and told, ‘What bath room? There is no bathroom or toilet in the school. In the morning, you have to go to the other side of the railway line for your morning duty.’
For the first time, in the next morning we walked more than a KM, to defecate outside in open. I should not be hypocrite by telling that ‘we did not enjoy the OD’ at that time. Going in a group of twenty boys, all below fourteen itself was a unique experience. During the actual action, we talked to each other. That is the reason, I can understand the psyche of good number of Biharis and UPwallas who like to go for OD despite of their good economic condition. After those three OD morning, we went to Dibrugarh.
We did not get the opportunity go to rail line again for OD at Dibrugarh or elsewhere also till date; but for next few years, OD at Sibsagar became a hot topic for our discussion. Now also we utter, ‘Oh shit’, whenever we meet all those friends who went to Sibsagar for our excursion!
Chapter II: How Fear of Ghost Played a Role
Our home at our village was situated near a football field. The other side of the football field was used as an open defecation ground by some ex-tea garden labourers and few villagers from our own village. The football field was shrinking day by day because of open defecation. There was some reports of skirmishes among two groups on that issue.
In one of my visit to my village from my college, one of my friends told me the problem and he felt that unless some drastic steps are taken, whole football field would be open defecation ground within a year or two.
‘Let us see what I can do?’ I told my friend. In next two days, I gathered that most of defecation took place after dusk and before midnight. I knew most of those people were afraid of ghosts. Therefore, at first through some of my friends, I generated a rumour that last few days, some of us saw a ghost roaming around the football field. Initially, only few of the labourers believed. However, fear gripped into the minds of more of them on every passing day. Finally, after a week both of us decided to go for the kill.
My height is at least six inches more than the average Indian height and my friend’s height was just few inches less than my height. In fact, I was the tallest boy of my village and ninety percent villagers were shorter than my friend. To make my height more than usual height, I wore a paper cap of at least one foot. Similar cap was worn by my friend also. After dusk, we climbed to a nearby tree and wait for someone to come to the ground for defecation.
We did not come down till one of the labourers started his action. When he was middle of his action, we appeared before him. As he saw us, with a scream, he tried to run away but we forced him on his own shit without uttering a single word. The poor fellow fell unconscious.
We left the place immediately without making any sound. Within few minutes, there was a huge commotion in the ground. All the labourers and villagers came to the field to find out what happened and found the labourer unc
Luckily for us, the labourer got his consciousness within few minutes.
After three months when I visited my village, my friend told me the football field became free of Open Defecation due to fear of ghost. A few years back I came to know that the football field became a sports ground of a local high school.
Whenever, I remember about my role as a tree climbing ghost, I use to utter, ‘Oh, shit’.
Chapter III: Breaking of a Marriage
Believe it or not, one of my known senior citizen remain unmarried because of ‘Oh shit’ factor.
That gentleman had a steady relation with a young lady for a year or two. They decided to tie the nuptial knot with the permission of their parents.
One day, my senior decided to take his girlfriend to a talkie. When he went to pick up the lady, she was not home at that time. He met her younger brother and asked him where was her sister.
He answered, ‘Sister has gone to the backside of their kitchen garden (in Assam kitchen gardens are very big, sometimes more than two-three acre) to defecate.’
The raw answer given by her brother directly hit the heart of my senior friend. He left their home immediately and thought, ‘Whom I thought a fairy of my life, directly coming from a dreamland; goes for open defecation! That is too much!’
Despite of repeated requests from all concerned to marry the girl, he decided to remain a bachelor for rest of his life.
I do not know whether he uttered ‘Oh shit’ before taking the decision; but I know he did not marry anyone in his life.
Chapter IV: Propagate for ODF but Forced to Defecate in Open
Recently, I visited one state where, all the officers are sincerely involved in Swachh Bharat Mission whole heartedly. While appreciating their efforts, I am narrating a story that came to my knowledge on the side-lines of our meeting with the state government officers of that state.
They showed me a video where it was shown a team led by a very senior officer of the state visited seven remote villages of the state in seven days on foot to propagate use of sanitary toilets as a part of Swachh Bharat Mission to eradicate habit of open defecation. These villages were connected only by narrow lanes and any person who is visiting those villages has to carry all his belongings including necessary food, drinks and beddings by himself or by porters.
After enjoying the beautiful short film, I asked one the officers who accompanied the senior officer to those villages, ‘How did you respond to the call of nature?’
‘Ha ha, in open sir. Unfortunately, I suffered loose motion during the journey. I am still keeping half of the handkerchief as souvenir of the visit and troubles we faced during the visit.’
I again got a chance to utter the same, ‘Oh Shit’.
Chapter V: Construction of Pits
Exceptions cannot be an example. But exceptions are sometimes funny and outrageous. From the concerned authority, specific instructions are issued on specifications of pits for toilet, septic tank for toilet, provision of safe disposal of excreta etc. on time to time.
But being a representative of very large country, we sometimes used to do some mental exercise. From these outrageous exercise of our brain, we sometimes decide to do something which may not be prudent and sometimes laughable.
The double pits toilet (recommended one) for safe toilets, pits should be around four feet deep. But some of the over-enthusiastic persons use to make pits deeper than this with the original thought , ‘bigger is always better’. This habit of few persons reminded me another story.
At that time, I was very young and performing the duty of Head of the Office of a particular office. One of the officers working under me was constructing a building after taking Government loan, popularly known as HBA (house building advance). After issuing the second instalment of the loan amount, I had to visit the building site as per the official rules.
When I saw large pond near to the building site, I asked the officer what it was. He said with a grin, ‘Sir it is the tank for sanitary latrine. The mason suggested to construct a big tank so that it need not have to be cleaned for hundred years. I also thought cleaning of tank is a big problem and therefore I took his advice. Is it alright sir?’
I only exclaimed, ‘Oh, shit’.
Chapter VI: You May Be a VIP, But Still a Human Being Only
It is a VVIP story. He is a great leader and has high degree of security cover to move around.
A few years back, he was out of power for a limited period of time. During that period to hog limelight, he sat on a hunger strike near a Government building which is located at a high security zone of the city.
You can live without food, but you cannot avoid call of nature. When he got the call of nature, his deputies requested the officer in charge of the Government building to allow their leader to use the toilet in the early morning.
Though it was not permissible, considering his status, the officer allowed the VVIP to come inside the building through the back door. He instructed one orderly to take the VVIP to the third floor so that none would know about use of official facility while on a hunger strike against the Government.
After half an hour, the VVIP left. The orderly then rushed to his boss to tell, ‘Sir, I am extremely sorry to tell you that for last three days there was no water supply on the third floor.’
After admonishing his subordinate, when the officer visited the third floor he discovered a used sock soaked with shit probably used by the unfortunate (for that time only) VVIP.
The officer was left with no alternative but to utter to himself, ‘Oh shit’.
The author is a Government servant and a man of vivid experiences derived from his official postings across the country, travels across India and numerous visits outside India. He is presently placed at New Delhi.
His earlier publications are:
1.Random Thoughts through a Coloured Prism
2. Dilemma of a Young Mind
3. Funny Statistics and Serious Statisticians
4. Melody of Fragrance
6. Few Cities through the Lens of Hiranya Borah
7. Guilt: Gift of Winter Spring
8. Beautiful Ghost
9. Great Fighters: Grace of God
10. All Blurred
11. Putting kids to sleep
12.How to become unpopular
14. My grumpy Face
15. Love and Worries
16. Discussion of own Birth: A Taboo
18. Indecent Love Affairs
19. My Fair Lady
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
27. A father
28. The Portrait
29. Snapped Thread
30. Only He Knows
31. The Stupid Mother
32. The Same Old Story
33. The Old Scoundrel
34. Third Attempt
35. Some of my First Days and First Nights
36. Snubbed Twice
37. Have You Met the God
38. Frequent Flier
40. Forgive and Forget
41. To Win or to lose
42. Call Girl
43. Beyond Blood Relation
44. Lady with a Black Car
45. My wife
46. Complete Woman
47. Diwali Gift
48. Romance with a Lady
49. Open Hear Surgery
50. My First Love
52. Pebbles on My Way Home
53. My First Bengali Book
54. Murder Mystery
57. Make a Habit to Thank God
58. Killing of A Bird
60. Fantasy versus Reality
61. The Party
62. Road Rage
63. Death of a Friend
64. Cannot Live with Memory Only
65. None Cares for Me
66. A Tribute to My Guru
67. Two Professionals
68. The Choice
69. The Elusive Spouse
70. First Encounter with A P
71. Plane Crash
72. Plane Crash Part-II
73. Plane Crash Part-III
75. A Bag of Currency
76. Suitable Groom
77. Head Hunters
78. My Dear Sister
79. Selection While Waiting at the Airport
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