Everybody has something or the other that they associate with a childhood experience or event. It could be a happy or a traumatic experience, and I’m no different. A few days ago, I was driving home with my elder kid, when he changed the music in the car to an old Malayalam song collection. It’s been a while since I had listened to Malayalam songs in the car, as the music system has been in the control of my kids. There are days I go around listening to gangsta rap (collection of my younger one), and to be honest, I kinda like it. You can’t really argue with profound lyrics like “She just bought a new ass but got the same boobs (same boobs!). Other words that repeat often in many of those songs include the common verb for the act of fornication and its variations, the term for female dogs, etc. - terms which are not generally approved by Arsha Bharatha or other cultures.
The fact is, kids don’t discriminate in terms of what they listen, and that, I have to say, has helped me to broaden the horizons of my musical interests too. My boy listens to all kinds of genres including old Malayalam and Hindi songs. By old I mean really old, for him. I can’t understand how a 16-year-old can feel nostalgic about the 1960s, but he does. He introduced me to Dean Martin’s “That's Amore” and “Buona Sera,” as well as many Japanese enka songs of yore. He also listens to opera and was obsessively listening to the Three Tenors for a while. It is a cyclical thing for him, and when he switched the music from Andrea Bocelli crooning “Con te partiro” to Janaki pining “Anjana kannezhuthi” for the lover who fails to turn up, I was not surprised.
So, there I was driving and listening to some melodious mallu songs from the 1960s and 70s, when the song “Ashada masam athmavil moham” came on. Now, this is a collection I had copied from a friend a few years ago on a visit to Trivandrum, but hadn’t yet listened to fully. I didn’t know this song was in there. This was a song that brought back a traumatic childhood memory. When it came on, I was instantly transported back to the mid-1970s, to a flower show at the Women’s College in Trivandrum. I was with my mom and her friends, who all came there with their kids in tow to see flowers! From what I remember, I was not interested in the flowers, and was too young to be interested in women, though it was a women’s college and all.
Anyway, I went walkabout and while goofing around got separated from the group and got lost in the milling crowd. Discombobulated, I walked up a grassy mound and was anxiously looking around when I felt some tribulations in my tummy. “You have to poop… here and now,” said my brain. I started bawling, trying not to let that thing out, but there’s only so much you can do and eventually it happened. So, there I was, on top of a grassy knoll, “Ashada masam, athmavil moham” blaring from the speakers at the venue, tears streaming down my cheeks, saliva drooling from my mouth, snot from my nose billowing in the wind, and a warm cylinder of poop slithering down the back of my thigh. And, anal sphincters walking by laughing at me!
I’m sure that this was the highlight of the flower show for them. Let’s admit it. Nobody likes or remembers flower shows. It’s something that happens in non-happening places, which was what most places in India were at that time. Nobody goes around saying, “hey, do you remember that red rose we saw at that flower show?” But I’m sure a whole bunch of dumbos who saw me that day still remembers that flower show and reminisce once in a while when they get together saying, “Do you remember that flower show in the 70s where that miserable kid was pooping on a hill. Was hilarious, wasn’t it?”
Anyway, my mom showed up in the nick of time before I went batshit crazy and took me to a toilet, cleaned me, washed my soiled shorts and put them back on, ditched the rest of the flowers, and took a taxi home immediately.
Looking back, I think my mom, in spite of having a master’s degree in economics, lost a golden opportunity to “monetize” her son. I was practically a vision on a hill. With a little effort, she could’ve promoted me as some kind of incarnation or saint. People do fall for that kind of $hit, y’know. If she had done that, I might have been an Our Patron Saint of the Holy Poop or a Swamy DoodooAnanda Thiruvadikal now, raking in the moolah by dishing out $hit advices to anal sphincters around the world. Didn’t happen. But, as they say in the ancient scriptures, “no point in crying over spilt gaumutr”. Which is even better in the original in Sanskrit – “गतस्य गोमूत्र पे शोचना नास्ति”!
Incidentally, near the place where I exit the expressway, there is a company called Unco Inc. (U is pronounced as in the Indian name Uma). Unco means poop in Japanese. Japan is famously non-anal-retentive about poop. It gave the poop emoji to the world. There are even text books that use unco to teach kanji characters to kids. So, it’s not surprising that such a company exists in Japan. The company apparently sells stuff like t-shirts, shoes, etc. with the poop character on it. And, they do have a lofty goal. World Peace! with poop! Go figure.
In these troubling times, when the whole world seems to be going up shit creek without a paddle, let’s hope they succeed in bringing peace to at least some parts of the world. Their car does bring a smile to my face whenever I see it.
PS: A few days ago, a post on a futuristic public toilet in Tokyo popped up on my timeline. I have been in love with the toilets in Japan for a long time now (a post from 2014). The one I have now lights up with a soothing blue glow inside the toilet bowl when I open the door, and does a cleanup of the washlet nozzle and bowl. I like it here. I think a civilization should be judged by how it poops, because that is the only function a human being enjoys from birth to death. In that regard, I think Japan is at the pinnacle. I know some of my friends in India like to say how everything was there in our land thousands of years ago, but this is one thing where I'm willing to put my neck on the line. There were no such toilets in Arsha Bharata or Arsha Greece or Arsha Mesopotamia or elsewhere. You could say our gurus used to sit in the Himalayan rivulets where the gushing water automatically cleansed their bums, and it could technically pass off as a natural washlet. But then, there was no blue light. When you think of it, I wouldn’t mind trying that out on a Himalayan stream. Whitewater pooping instead of whitewater rafting. I’m sure many would pay top dollar for that.