Updated: Aug 27, 2020
This short story has been authored by Lhutu keyho.
“Nothing as scandalous would transpire ever again in Phek town.”
And as easily as that, the beginning of a tale would tumble out of Uncle Ponsa’s mouth.
“Some notorious denizens of our town, who called themselves the ‘Unü-Umüdoh society’, decided to organise a tournament,” he would carry on nonchalantly.
Sometimes our paanwala would tell his stories even when he was not sure if there were any listeners. Seated on a low wooden stool, left knee resting on his chin, head bent towards the shop’s wooden floor and hands working furiously on the sarota, he would sometimes tell his tales as he de-husked and shaved tamul guti after tamul guti.
“The affair, the organisers should have known better, attracted quite an uproar no sooner was the announcement made. They should have had enough sense not to have invited the pastor to pray on the pre-inaugural function— the day they began giving out the leaflets announcing the competition. Sure enough, the town’s Baptist Church was the first to deride the scheme of the Unü-Umüdoh society.
They also invited the wrath of town’s Mothers’ Association. There was a protest march.
Nobody knew how the Unü-Umüdoh society got their way around the women and the men of the church. Somehow, they did, for the competition did take place. Also, nobody really understood the initial distress of the church and the mothers’ association, for it was the CYE department of the former who bided the highest for the tender to sell wares inside the enclosed gallery and the latter who ran a hotel outside in the local ground on the day of the competition.
It was quite a sensational event. We spent an entire week scourging bamboo and wood in the forest to build the gallery and the enclosure; another week to get everything erected.
Visitors and participants came from all over the state. One participant who was misinformed had to be disqualified because he was from Manipur. The Unü-Umüdoh society should have considered the poor fellow’s participation.
But then again, it was not just any tournament. It was THE competition that would decide, once and for all, and finally put to rest that enduring question— who has the largest penis in Nagaland?
We prepared with much gusto for the day, knowing it was going to be special. We asked Shensa to book for us two lekhü of Hezo from Sansalü. I had my dog slaughtered. We were not too keen on spending too much money on the wares that the church sold that day.
The gallery was filled to its last bench with men, women and children from all over the town, the nearby villages and spectators even coming from as far as Dimapur. Who would have imagined that penises were capable of generating such excitement! The competition provided as much as it promised. Never has any town seen as much penises as ours saw that day. Nor will such an assembly of phallic variety ever be brought together again.
And even if it could be done, it must not be done ever again. It was reported that many who witnessed the events of the day had unnatural dreams for months and months together.
The sights of the day, forever etched in the memories of the people of the town and all the spectators, remain much too difficult for the tongue to mouth into words. Nonetheless, some details of the day must be spoken of, despite the fact that you cannot bring yourself to believe them unless you have seen them with your own eyes.
It was towards the end of the day, and the tournament was coming to an end, with the Judges undecided on which to declare the winner. Among the last of the participants was a muscular man who walked nonchalantly into the ground with a shawl thrown over his shoulder. The spectators, most of whom were drunk on hezo and meat by then and were expectedly raucous, did not make much of the man.
The crowd was, however, stunned into a silent cluster of mute individuals when they realised that the man, who was by then strutting and parading around in the ground, bore no shawl at all. All that time in the arena, he had been walking around with his manhood hauled over his shoulder!
The crowd erupted into a rapturous shout of joy, delight and surprise.
‘eeeEHHH… Tsotehoh! It’s over!’ the men in the crowd shook their heads in disbelief and said to one another.
‘Give him the trophy!’ one man shouted.
‘There is your winner!’ another exclaimed.
Amidst declaration of astonishment and disbelief, the crowd began to ready to disperse and go home, confident that there cannot be a penis bigger than the man’s in the arena.
And just as the first of the crowd were getting off the gallery benches, shouts came from the entrance of the gallery.
‘Wait! There is one more participant! And this one is… even bigger!’
The shouting man declared in half shock and half alarm.
Sure enough, when the participant made his entry into the arena, the sight of his penis simply took the wind out of the crowd’s sails. After what was a dazed moment, the crowd once again burst into bellows and hollers.
One section of the crowd, too amazed by the sight, began to laugh and stomp on the wooden seats of the gallery in an overtly animated and enthusiastic zeal that the gallery on that side collapsed. In another section of the crowd, three women, seized with sudden fear, fainted. The crowd, however, continued to cheer on the new winner without concern.
It was a sight to behold.
The participant had walked in, behind two well-built men, with the men carrying his penis on their shoulders!
There was nothing more to say. Surely you cannot beat that! We all agreed that he was the winner. People had begun to leave. Sundown has arrived.
The judges heaved a sigh of relief. One of them stood up to declare the winner.
But before he could open his mouth to speak, there was another disturbance at the entrance of the ground. At first it was a faint sound, like the songs of working men. Then it developed into a patterned hum that grew into a loud chant, resonating throughout the town.
We did not have to wait too long. Before very long, a train of men, wearing the traditional attire of the Sümi tribe, AhhHo-AhhHoed into the gallery.
‘Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah ho…’
They chanted and encircled the arena once and yet the last of their men had not entered the gallery.
‘Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah ho…’
They sang and made another circle inside the bigger circle without breaking the train and still the last of their men had not entered the gallery.
‘Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah Ho… Ah ho…’
Their chants echoed as they made another smaller circle inside the two circles and yet the last of their men had not entered the gallery.
And finally, there was no more space in the arena. Seeing this, the man who led the train, their leader, signalled his man with a ‘HUUI!’ and they all at once halted their movement and their chanting.
The man, a small bald man, came forward and addressed the crowd.
‘We are sorry to have kept you waiting.’
‘We walked to your town all the way from Pughoboto. It took us all of five days to get here.’
He walked back to his earlier position, pointed at the tip of a rope-like object that coiled, through the three circles, on the shoulders of his men in the arena, all the way to the entrance of the gallery.
He looked up to the crowd, and then the judges, and finally declared,
‘This is the tip of Aloto Aye’s penis. It’s end, and the person of my good friend is resting by your town’s welcome gate!’”
This was the stuff of uncle Ponsa’s stories. You don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Back then, when we did not know that some men also come to love penises, we always laughed very loudly at the end of this tale.