When the going gets tough, those with quirky mindsets get going. At a time when the economic scenario across the country is bleak and the gloom can be experienced firsthand in India’s prime economic centres, a gentleman in Surat city of Gujarat has come up with an idea to hold a farting competition.

No matter what the response has been to the government’s claims on the Gujarat Model, this spirit to laugh away the blues also comes from the state represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah.

To make long things short, Yatin Sangoi -- who is a professional singer performing Bollywood and Punjabi numbers at corporate events -- has organized a farting competition in Surat on September 22. This 48 year old, who claims to have been a finalist in one of the top singing shows on television way back in 2001, says that this is the first time that such a competition is being organized in India.

It is an interesting anecdote as to what gave him the idea to hold this peculiar event. “Around 25 days back I came up with a loud fart while watching television with my family. Someone just joked that I would be a winner if a farting competition is organized somewhere. The idea hung on. My friends laughed when I shared the idea with them,” he told this reporter.

He further said, “I decided to go ahead with the event anyhow even if there were 10 participants. The whole idea was to have some fun in times like the present one -- where business is slow. But the response has been encouraging,” he said. “Till today more than 30 people have sent in their entries while there are many oral enquiries coming. We are expecting participants from places like Ahmedabad, Balasinor, Jaipur, Mumbai, Surat and other adjoining cities. The most interesting thing is that I am getting queries from Kolkata whether I would be keen to organize a similar event around Durga Pooja over there.”

Sangoi has chosen a discotheque as the venue. He said that initially it was decided that the top three winners of the competition would be given trophies but now even some sponsors are showing interest. If these sponsorships materialize, the organizers are willing to pay the top three winners cash prizes to the tune of Rs 15,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5000 respectively besides the trophies.

“If one remembers, till about a couple of decades back, farting loud even in public places was not frowned upon. Farting has also been part and parcel of jokes cracked among friends and even at times of family get togethers,” Sangoi said.

Divulging more details about his planned event, he disclosed that the competitors will be competing in three categories. They would be judged on who farts the longest, who farts the loudest, and whose farts are the most musical.

Flatulence and farting have often found their way to the works of literature, sometimes by great writers. For example, Khushwant Singh in his work ‘Delhi’ has described musical farts -- comparing their sounds to musical instruments like shehnai, flute, drums etc. Farts find their way into the works of even the noted Latin American writer from Peru, Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. Sample this from his work ‘Conversation in The Cathedral’:

“Doctor, Doctor, I have got something that keeps on going up and down in me and I do not know what it is,” Carlitos said. “It’s a crazy little fart madam, you’ve got a face like as a** and the poor little fart doesn’t know which way to get out. The thing that is upsetting your life is a crazy little fart, Zavalita.”

And who can forget the Urdu poet closer home Sheikh Baqar Ali ‘Chirkeen’ -- the poet from Barabanki who became an icon in scatology with his works. It is said that he wrote normal poetry which others recited at Mushairas claiming them to be their work. This peeved Chirkeen who went on to write poetry which no one dared to copy and claim it as his own.

Coming back to Sango’s event, he said that he has chosen the month of September for the event because the business is slow as new purchases are prohibited by tradition and people are relatively free. It is only around Navratri that sales pick up, with the return of auspicious days to make new purchases. This year around, the economic slowdown has made matters worse. “This is also the time that people prefer consuming homemade food in appropriate quantities,” he added.

He further said, “I plan to organize such events in Ahmedabad after Diwali and in Mumbai in December besides one in Kolkata during the Durga Pooja festival.” Anyone wanting to try his farting skills can surely look up to such competitions in the days to come.