First, don’t blame me. Blame this guy, he started it.
Second, if you’re about to eat or generally belong to that strange community of people who are squeamish when it comes to crap and pee tales, kindly exit left of stage. Go read amitabh bachchan’s weirdo blog.
Now to get to the point, with great relish.
Years back, I went on my first trek to Nepal. Of course I knew nothing about trekking. And like a lot of people thought reading the Lonely Planet was enough preparation for traipsing along the kali gandaki and walking from an altitude of 827m (pokhara) to...freaking hell...hold your breath 3800m (muktinath).
Anyway, to cut a long and sorry story short, I realised trekking was a misleading word. They should call it breaking. Like I’m going to break down and cry when I have to climb 300 steps cut into the mountain. Or my knees are going to break and roll off the next time I’m skidding downhill while the raging river waits gleefully underfoot.
Or my nerves are shot and at breaking point. Or give me a break, I’ll never say I want to go climbing again.
Yeah, I think let’s go breaking to Nepal kind of sums up my trip.
But here’s the interesting bit. While you’re wandering spaced out, battling to breathe as you endlessly climb uphill, you realise that bathrooms are the last thing you care about.
Of course they don’t exist. Not just on the trail. But also in the tiny villages.
Yes, some have electricity, and music playing, and hot soup, and of course some good stuff to smoke. But bathrooms, chances are they have one bathroom for the village. And of course unless you’re in the habit of waking up really early, it’s probably lot easier, for your eyes and your nose, to just duck behind some bushes on the trail.
So one day, after a very early lunch of dal bhaat, which in itself is such a huge luxury at that altitude, we’re getting ready to set off again.
We have a large, large hill to climb through the late morning and afternoon.
Perhaps it is the sight of that hill, perhaps it is the hot dal bhaat, but I feel some movement in the lower abdomen. I tell everyone that I have to potty before we leave. Just then the other girl in our trekking party says she can feel it too, and maybe we should go together.
By now we’ve reached a stage in our relationship where we can amicably sit next to each other in the open and do potty while chatting about inconsequential stuff.
So we set out to find a bush or a rock we can duck behind. But there’s nothing. All trekking paths seem to converge here. There’s deep gorge on one side, and a steep mountain slope on the other.
In the meantime, the dal and the bhaat are sending urgent signals to every part of the body. We have to potty now.
Just then we spot an abandoned house set against the slope. We scramble up. There’s a clearing in front of the house where we can squat while the house can hide us from all the trekkers below.
Oh, what a relief. We blink back tears of delight, and sit down to do our business, and are politely discussing how Mick Jagger probably came down this same trail, when the door of the abandoned cottage flies open and a man steps out.
Turns out the abandoned cottage is not an abandoned cottage.
The man is in a rage. And can I blame him. Two women shitting on his doorstep.
He gesticulates wilding and yells away. We just look up in shock and then start laughing helplessly.
There is no turning back now. We can hardly hop our way out of this. The man after a minute of rage realises the same thing and stomps off.
We do our business quickly, and leave. Without even a thank you note.
And ya, PS: I never went back to catch up with him.
Tomorrow: the best cake in the world. how to keep a relationship going. And the most fantastic music from the early 80’s. Yeah baby.