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space.gif (52 bytes) Camel Trek - Part III  - by Mike Waldman

December 28, 1998

Bikaner | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Everyone knows "farts are funny." Farts are the international joke. They are funny in all languages. You can rip-one, pass gas, cut the cheese, break wind, flatulate, or go silent-but-violent and it’s always funny. On a bad day you may flauster, which might not be funny to you, but your friends would think it was hilarious. You can place the blame with a fart, i.e. "the dog did it," "whoever smelt it dealt it," followed by "whoever made the rhyme did the crime," or "hey did you fart? No? I did, ha ha." There are also accessory gags for farts. There's the classic pull my finger, the old lean to the side, the vibrate the bus bench, you can ask a buddy if there's something stuck to the back of your pants, or sneak up and fart on your sister's head (a usual side splitter). The king of all fart gags though is usually discovered by adolescent boys when one of their friends (who almost always has an older brother) swipes a lighter from a drawer in the kitchen, lies on his back legs in the air spread eagle, ignites the lighter near his backside, and poof you have hilarious antic known as Fart Flambé.

Anyone who has been on a camping trip for one week eating vegetable and lentil everyday, especially a trip containing 8 boys and zero girls, knows that it's a veritable fart-o-rama. And as I said before that's okay because farts, especially to males, are funny. On our third night after we polished off our rice, lentils and many chapatis we stoked up the fire and chatted (although, we couldn't understand anything the crew said or vice-versa). Every once in a while one of the eight of us would fart and we would all giggle.

In India there are lots and lots of farts but there are very few lighters. This might be what caused us to speculate that these men had never lit a fart. After a while Josh worked up a gasser and assumed the position. When the burst of flame shot out there was a brief moment of silence, which was followed by Jagdeesh standing up and farting in Josh's general direction. Josh held out the lighter assuming Jagdeesh wanted to give it a rip. This was followed by a gale of laughter that lasted nearly five minutes. It was a smash hit, and we had to presume, "Its true, fart flambé is the funniest fart there is!"

About a half an hour later Josh wondered if we should give them another helping of flambé. We all agreed that, even though it is never as funny the second time, it was always funny. Josh's second fire ball was not only greeted by complete dead silence, but it actually caused one of the crew members to get up and walk under his camel cart.

Amar: "Why do you keep doing that?"
Us: "We thought you thought it was funny?"
Amar: "NO! He doesn't like it, he's a Brahmin!" (He was pointing at Moodly.)
Us: "Oh, Sorry."

In the corner Gopal squeaked out a fart and the camel crew giggled.

Us: "We thought you didn't like that?"

Moodly held up a burning stick from the fire and told us "fire is God." We realized that to Moodly, fire was holy and we were mocking it by farting on it. When we tried to express our apologies and that we didn't mean to offend him, it didn't really come across. The four crew members got up and abruptly went under the cart to go to sleep. Before they left, Amar told us with a rather puzzled expression, "You can do that after we go to bed!"

We crouched around the dwindling fire and reflected on the events that had just transpired. We began to understand how miscommunication could lead to violent wars and deep never healing wounds.

Finally, the Frenchman said "I guess farts aren't always funny."

"No" we corrected him. "Farts are always funny, its fire that really stinks!"

Bikaner | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V