Poop-li live! When stink fell from the sky

Posted on Jan 21 2018 - 5:58pm by admin
Bagish.Jha@timesgroup.com

Gurgaon: A group of villagers in Gurgaon received a crash course on ‘celestial gifts’ on Saturday. The biggest lesson: don’t put them the fridge. And if their experience were to be ever made into a movie, some of those who witnessed the daylong drama might even suggest the title, ‘Poop-li Live’.

The ‘gift’ had, quite literally, come out of the blue. Rajbir Yadav, a farmer at Fazilpur Badli village, was out for his morning ritual to the fields on Saturday when he saw what seemed like a “very large rock” crash into the ground near him and disintegrate. “It hit the ground with a big thud,” he later recalled. Other villagers present in the vicinity gathered around Rajbir. Word spread quickly. From the farm to the barns to the alleys; within no time, the entire village was talking about it. People poured into the wheat farm for a look.

Among them, some of the more informed ones, hazarded a guess: that this could be a meteor. The stone had a white texture, and was ice cold with a transparent surface. Some rare mineral, then? A geological treasure? In all the curious discourse, some villagers quietly sneaked a few pieces into their clothes and carried them back swiftly to their homes, just so they weren’t caught napping if posterity proved this to be a priceless celestial object they had ignored. It was cold, so they stowed the pieces in the fridge, assured that was their safest place. Then they returned to their daily business.

In the meantime, word reached the administration, which dispatched a team from the India Meteorological Department and National Disaster Management Authority to the village, located in Farrukhnagar. The only ‘intel’ that came with the discovery was that an ice ball had crashed into the wheat field. The expert team’s verdict melted the curiosity. This was no meteor, nor any celestial wonder as seen in a sci-fi movie. This was most likely ‘blue ice’, a term used for frozen toilet waste leaking from planes.

Meteoric hopes crash

Prima facie, it looks like aircraft waste. Still, we are sending it to the forensic lab in Bhondsi to know what exactly it is,” said Vivek Kalia, the Pataudi subdivisional magistrate who accompanied the expert team to Fazilpur Badli.

Kalia said villagers believed it to be a meteor because the ice hadn’t melted, possibly because of the winter weather. Blue ice is a frozen mix of human excreta and liquid disinfectants.

“The heavy mass of ice, which is not associated with any type of rainy weather, suggests there is a possibility it might have fallen as frozen toilet water coming out from some aircraft lavatory. There are a number of zig-zagging air routes in this area,” said an expert who inspected the ice ice ball.

Instances of aircraft waste falling from sky were reported from Sagar, Harda and Dewas districts of Madhya Pradesh between January and April 2016. In December 2016, the National Green Tribunal had directed the country’s aviation regulator — Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) — to ask airlines to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation in such cases.

But people at Fazilpur Badli weren’t exactly thinking about compensation; they had more urgent business to attend to. “Villagers who kept it (blue ice) inside their refrigerators are disappointed and are now busy cleaning their houses,” said a resident.

What started as a treasure chase had ended in loss of faece(es).

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