Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Of Endurance of Olfactory Chamber and Stench


We the Bhutanese have one of the most tolerant nose to the stinks. It can be amplified with the following incidents that I am going to narrate.

Bhutanese passengers would not complain about the smell because we are used to so many other worse smells. This reminds me of traveling in a bus a couple of years back. The moment I entered the bus I was greeted with a pungent smell that I could not link with any other smell that I smelt before, it must be the smell of the bus as a whole – the collection of remnants of stale stinks left by the previous passengers. Moving along the aisle further towards my seat, the smell was as if divided into compartments of invisible cubes waiting and ready for a slight stir to get it all mixed up to form a deadly cocktail of pungent smell.

I was lucky to be having a seat near the window side, and that is exactly the reason why all the Bhutanese passengers prefers the seat near the window, to breathe the fresh air first, as it enters the bus, no matter how cold it may be - the windows are seen left open to let the air in - to dilute the cocktail of smell inside. No wonder people vomit, adding, additional spices to the already pungent smell and for the visual benefits if one dare to take a look. (That’s why I cannot enjoy thukpa as it should be, because I have seen the similar thing oozing out of the mouth of fellow passengers due to car sickness and mostly agitated by the stink)


We stink because the ‘kiras’ and ‘Ghos’ are too huge and expensive to be washed after a few uses. Some expensive ‘ghos’ remain unwashed for ages; unless we see the deposits of black dirt along the collar, it remains unwashed. The easy indicator of it being dirty near the sleeves and cuffs were conveniently protected with white ‘lagay’. And only the ‘lagay’ gets the washing frequently and not the ‘gho’. The chewing of ‘doma’ suppresses the stinky mouth but it gives out another stink for those who do not chew ‘doma’. The belch of the beer, ‘bangchang’ and ‘ara’ drinking person the previous night, emits another kind of killer stink.


If we have endured the stink of the public toilet or toilets in the schools, until we had finished our business there, no stink is too strong tickle your nose and other sensory nerves connecting to the sensitive places where you maybe made to throw up. Once my friend stayed in the toilet a bit too long after bunking the class, for not doing the homework, and when he came back after one period, reeking with the stench of the toilet, it easily gave out his hiding place without being told – the stink had got in between the fiber of his cloths.