FOR THE last 35 years, Kailash Singh ‘Kalau’, 63, hasn’t had a bath nor has he brushed his teeth. He says it is out of love for the country, but neighbours say it is for a son — Kalau has seven daughters.
Agni Snan, or “fire bath”, is his way of keeping clean. Every evening as villagers gather, Kalau, who lives in Chatav, lights a bonfire, smokes marijuna and stands on a leg praying to Lord Shiva.
“’It’s just like using water to take a bath,” said Kalau, who wears two pullovers through the year and only drinks warm water. “Fire bath helps kill all the germs and infections in the body.”
Five years ago, when his brother died, Kalau refused to take the ritual dip in the Ganges.
“I still don’t remember how it all began. I just know that it started about 35 years ago,” he told HT.
He used to own a grocery store but his unclean habits drove customers away. Now he makes a living out of farming.
“I’ll end this vow only when all problems confronting the nation end,” he told HT. But the neighbours have a different take. “A seer once told Kalau that if he does not take a bath, he’ll be blessed with a son,” said Madhusudan Singh.