Sunday, April 30, 2017

Missionary Kid: Pugla Walla

(Bengali for crazy man)

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: After the author submitted the story published yesterday, “I do not know him...but I respect him,” which refers to the Pugla Walla in today’s story, we discovered that he had never submitted his “Missionary Kid” story about the original Pugla Walla. Here it is, at last. And may Vic discover a few other such stories he hasn’t submitted yet!]

When my family lived in India, in the 50’s, there was a small village at the foot of the hill near our home in Jaffrabund, Assam. In this village lived a man that was a couple of French fries short of a happy meal. No, actually, I should not have used that analogy. He was simply mentally abnormal. I won’t use the “French fries short” phrase because, in fact, he was a very jovial, happy fellow.
    He did, however, have an incessant need to stuff cloth into his cheeks, creating huge bulges in them.
    This poor man knew that my dad always carried a handkerchief. Well, every time we drove through the village, he stopped our vehicle and demanded it. Dad teased him and acted as though he wasn’t going to give it to him. The man would get a big smile on his face and show a real meek look with his eyes, and Dad always gave in.
    Immediately, the handkerchief would go into the man’s mouth, dirty or not. (Dad didn’t always remember to carry a clean one.) The man was overjoyed and jumped up and down with excitement.
    In the Indian culture this man was respected and cared for. The local people knew it wasn’t his fault that he was the way he was. They let him sleep wherever he wanted, and if he was hungry someone fed him. He simply existed in his own world, right there with all the “normal” people. And we call the Indian people backward….

Copyright © 2017 by Vic Midyett

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