My roommate prepared me for Soorjit Sircar & Juhi Chaturvedi’s Piku. She & I, and the rest of her friends, and mine bonded over our motions & emotions in those two years. I don’t know about the others. The lucid talks made me less inhibitory about discussing the noises, pains and smells in ‘the punishment room’ in front of an audience. I had entered a new phase of vocal — it had a vocabulary of yellow mango pulp like, lot of gas & farts, so much grumblings, dub dub dub droppings and jet spray. Craig Raine definitely had not met all of us before he wrote ‘A Martian sends a Postcard Home.’
Her day began by sipping water, a total of 3 litres between 4 am and 7, before she finally headed to the loo. The morning I spotted her drinking from the bottle in her sleep from across the room I was certain this habit has been in place for a while. There was no water spillage on the bed, the floor, not a drop dribbled down to her neckline from the corners of her lips wetting her teeshirt and the bedsheet. Wow!
“I’m building pressure” she replied when I asked her later. “What pressure?” She gave me a graphic description about the water path inside her body systems. I shouldn’t have asked.
The initial discomfort gave way to plenty of home remedies for good motions. Did you know snacking on guavas can increase the frequency of motions during the day preventing bleeding & butt bruises? That the Indian way of sqautting on the floor is easier to build better pressure, and drinking luke warm helps to empty bowels quicker when we wake up late for a 6 am yoga class. I’ve had these discussion but in the privacy of a doctor’s cabin during a bout of illness. This every day chitchat on bowel movements with strangers-soon to be friends like critiquing the supper menu in the hostel mess notice board was new. As Irrfan’s character asks Deepika’s Piku, is this the normal? We had fallen into a routine.
Over the years, I figured people grew loquacious when they have an audience to listen to their shit trauma. There are folks with severe tummy troubles — as extreme as constipation because they are visiting a different city, a runny tummy as there is too much chilly in a dish, fart fart & flatulence, transform your room into a gas chamber from an overload of pulses in sides & or over eating on the seasonal jackfruit seeds, a case of irritable bowels, eating disorders and medical ailments. There are also the occasional undigested tales of the seeds of gergins and okra, the colourful pink and green initiated by the beetroots & spinach. I tell you, there is no dearth of starting points even when you have a cast iron stomach and regular bowel movements. Therefore, joining in as Irrfan did over that lunch conversation adding grosser details, than sitting out making poker faces is the best option.
Come to think of shit, it is just food exiting our bodies through a different hole in a different shape after a long winding journey across the torso. My appetite has run dry like Piku’s date’s did a couple of times as the first few times can be torture if you are not used to this kind of open talk. Piku confirmed Incan sit through and lol as a result of my training.
When somebody took shit seriously they made a delightful film with an exquisite cast to deliver the message. She prepared me for Bhasker’s mundane distress. Without her I may have cringed a little, taken a while, and would have had to watch Piku again to unwind over shit & enjoy the nuances of Piku.