Out, Damned Fart !

“Sister-in-law, you covered up fart blast by colliding utensils, but how will you hide the foul smell?” The guy simply meant, “how can you fool us, you stinker!”

Toilet jokes are always funny and full of humor that bring lot of laughter. Sometimes, it gets you to pass your natural gas when the toilet jokes are off-limits. Often times, you even will not get time to “back off” from where you are, and you just break the wind naturally deposited in your stomach and release your tension. Is that not ridiculous? Yes, it is, and it is not.

First of all, we all know that this is natural. Some people have no control over it, and some do. I believe that people do not intend to fart in a public place, at a bus stop, in a pew in the church, and in a classroom. However, sometimes it happens. Whenever I think of this topic, I cannot forget some of my friends in my high school. One of my friends was smart, intelligent, but naïve and very nervous in front of ladies.

We were hanging out with some of our girlfriends in the classroom during break. The gas in his stomach was bothering him. He had to let go of that gas from his stomach in order to release his tension. He was trying his best to hold it, but before the class was even over, he lost that good grip on his stomach and passed out – a long howl “T~I~I~I~I~Y~A”. Then what??? Long silence and all were staring at him. And the hush of the class broke into a mega laughter until all girls’ eyes were damp. His embarrassment could be read and felt. Later, he expressed that he had wished that he could have disappeared from where he was. It has been 12 years now, but he still does not want to talk about it again and laugh over it. That incident has left a bad scar in his heart that talking only hurts him more.

Now, you might be thinking why I picked up such a disgusting topic – FART! This is not something big or important issue to be discussed. Nonetheless, I think it is worth examining matter in the context of a column recently published in a national daily Kantipur’s online version. There was a shocking tragic story of a newlywed bride published in that paper by a well-known columnist, Krishna Murari Bhandari, on 7th December 2009.

The story goes like this: a newlywed bride responsibly sets the table for her in-laws, and the apple of her eyes, her husband . It is a cultural thing that bride prepares the meal and serves entire household first every day. Then, she eats after they are all done.

When she was about to serve food to the respected family members, she felt immense pressure inside her tummy due to gas deposition. She had no way to get away from there in the middle of her duties. It would be considered an insult if she walked away all of a sudden. She would be considered as uncivilized daughter-in-law not well trained by her parents to behave in a proper manner. Hence, she was entrapped in cultural norms and values.

She has now strong urge to pass out gas. Afterward, she comes up with an idea to relieve her queasiness with banging the ladel and utensils. She discharges gas (farts) and strikes the wok simultaneously. Her brother-in-law finds her trick and does not step back to embarrass her. He says, “Sister-in-law, you covered up fart blast by colliding utensils, but how will you hide the foul smell?” The guy simply meant, “how can you fool us, you stinker!”

She no sooner hides her face than the brother-in-law finishes his say. Then, she rushes to her room. She feels ill-at-ease in the midst of eddies of insult and humiliation. She is already injured psychologically, and the two-edged sword like demeaning words add to insult to injury. Right off the bat, she hangs herself. There is a big commotion and wailing while those old farts were still not done with their food. “Newlywed bride hung herself.”

What a tragedy! Who is to be blamed for robbing her youthfulness? How do you feel when you read this true story? What was your first reaction? Surely, if the bride were allowed to eat with them out of love she would not have to starve herself and accumulated such gas! This social norm to have brides wait until every one is done does not do justice, don’t you think? Many brides in Nepal suffer from gastritis due to this strictly followed norm. This is one incidence that calls for the society’s attention to correct such norms that costs people’s lives.

Certainly, she did not commit a crime that deserves to take away her life. It is just a natural action of natural force. But social structure and hypocritical norms, and values of our society have direct impact in this incidence. There is a saying, “Words cut deeper inside your heart than sharper sword does.” It takes a long time to heal. A harsh and cruel word can take an innocent life. The Bible talks clearly about how destructive our tongue can be if it is manipulated uncontrollably. “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).

Maybe, that is why God gave us only one tongue instead of a pair like other organs!

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