In 1983, a cultural troupe from Punjab Agricultural University went to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh to participate in the youth festival named Galaxy. On the last day, the function got delayed and it was around 2am that the students came back and had their dinner.
In the function, I competed for the Mr Galaxy title but did not get it. I was feeling low so I left the contingent to stay with one of my local friends.
Next evening, another cultural performance by our troupe was scheduled at Meerthal Cantonment near Pathankot. In the morning, when the bus started for Meerthal, there was an unusual silence and uneasiness.
After about an hour's drive, as the bus stopped at a temple, suddenly all the occupants disappeared. Actually all of them went to relieve themselves.
There was something wrong with the dal that everybody had consumed the previous night, so they all had a stomach upset and loose motions.
Girls went towards the hill and boys towards the khud side in search of decent spots. A girl who was crowned Miss Galaxy and was over cloud nine the previous night was finding solace behind a small rock.
Boys held on to the hanging branches of the trees to save themselves from slipping on the slope of the khud while relieving themselves. While sitting on a rock I was viewing this scene.
The bus had frequent halts for the comfort of its passengers during the course of the journey. At one such halt, Jagdish Rai, the college photographer, had to run to the fields flooded with water to quickly find a place, with two cameras dangling from his neck as he held his trousers loosely.
He had to change his place twice because every time there was one or two girls in sight. Finally, without caring for anybody he relieved himself in the flooded fields.
Subsequently, a box of anti-diarroheal medicines was bought and everybody had a dose of the medicine for quick relief.
Once the bus reached Meerthal, army personnel served the contingent with pakoras, jalebis and barfi. Everybody just had a look at these eatables without daring to pick them.
Soon boys and girls queued up separately outside the two adjoining toilets at that place. Everyone was conscious of various noises produced in the toilets. The university's comedy king, Jaswinder Bhalla, later told me that he had to cough loudly to suppress the noise produced.
During the performance of the Bhangra event, Bajwa was to sit on the shoulders of Sukcharanjit who had warned Bajwa that they would do the step only if his stomach was fine.
He also instructed the dholak master to keep the beat of the drum slow to avoid a stomach upset. But by that time medicine had worked and we had a nice time.