A LOT of people can’t imagine going through a day without taking at least one shower, but 66-year-old Kailash Singh, from India, hasn’t taken a bath in over 38 years, and says he’s happier than a lot of people who wash their bodies every day.
But what can possibly make a man give up the daily ritual of bathing? Kailash says he told the decision in 1974, shortly after he got married, hoping this would help him have a son. He claims it was priest who guaranteed him a prized son if he followed his advice not to wash or cut his hair. Now, over 38 years later, Kailash Singh is probably the world’s smelliest man, has 6-foot-long dirty dreadlocks and is father to seven daughters and not a single son. Despite having been failed by his religious guidance, the old man still doesn’t want to wash his body, and says only a son could change his mind.
Although stranger things have happened, fathering a son at 66, with a 60-year-old wife is very unlikely. Perhaps things wouldn’t be as serious if Kailash Singh lived in a more moderate climate and had a less physically-demanding job, but he lives in the hills near the holy city of Varanasi, where he works up a sweat tending to cattle in heat that often reaches 47 degrees Celsius. As you can imagine, his wife, Kalavati Devi, has had a tough time getting used to the smell. She claims they’ve tried everything to convince him to give up on his vow, including threatening not to sleep in the same bed with him, but in the end she was the first to give in. Kailash’s family once tried to force him to take a bath in a nearby river, but he fought them all off and ran away, saying he would rather die than bathe.
Singh’s daughter says she can’t understand how her father goes through a summer day without bathing, when she takes at least two showers. If you thought Kailash Singh doesn’t care about personal hygiene, you were seriously mistaken. The Indian cattle farmer takes what he calls a “fire bath” each evening”, making sure he gets rid of all the sweat. No it doesn’t involve purifying his body with fire, but rather smoking marijuana, praying to the Hindu god Shiva and dancing around a bonfire (without breaking a sweat, I guess). He says that’s enough to kill off the worst smells, he says, but his family and neighbours disagree. The world’s smelliest man says they don’t understand it’s god’s decision, not his. – Nation