Monday, 17 March 2014

The Smell That Changed Geneva Convention!

The two nations were at war. The two battalions were locked in a fierce battle. Today was the fourth day of battle, but no side was ready to move behind by an inch.

Image courtesy staticflicr
The nation A’s battalion was stronger in number, 500 men against the 50 of nation B. But the nation B had a strategic advantage. They were at a higher elevation and were surrounding the nation B’s battalion. That’s why they had been able to engage A’s battalion for four days despite being small in numbers.

The battle went fiercer and fiercer, with bullets raining, grenades exploding, rockets flying and hitting the enemy bunkers. Balls of fire rose to the sky. Smoke engulfed everything. Soldiers on both sides were high on adrenalin, full with patriotic feelings. They changed positions, played hide and seek, shot at the enemy at first opportunity, and were ready to lay their lives for their country.

A’s numbers and B’s strategic advantage made the battle equal. No one had budged from his position for last 4 days. Nobody knew how long this will continue.

Then they started running of ammunition; on both sides. First they ran out of rockets, then grenades, then finally even the bullets.

There was silence for a few minutes. Both understood that the other one had run out of ammunition. But this was a bad news for B. Because in war, once the ammunition gets finished, close proximity battle would starts. The soldiers engage in hand to hand combat and use the bayonets fixed on their rifle heads to attack the enemy. And in such combats, the number of men matter.

Once the soldiers run out of ammunition, close proximity batttle has to start   Imege courtesy wikipedia

A pal of Gloom descended in B’s camp. They knew that their 50 men would be no match for the 500 bayonet wielding men of the enemy in a close proximity fight. They will be run-over, crushed, torn-apart, and killed within a few minutes by the army of 500 men pouncing on them. Their defeat seemed imminent. Death seemed imminent.

Men in A’s camp were ecstatic. They knew that a without-ammunition-battle is won by the strength of numbers. They were 500, their enemy a meager 50.

Their commander addressed them “Men! Time has come for the hand to hand combat now. They are fifty, you are five hundred.  They are helpless in front of you. The time has come for you to attain the glory. Our victory is near. “I can smell the victory”.

“He shouted, “Go men! Go pounce on them. Put your bayonets through their throats and tear them apart”.

A’s men, running high on adrenaline, ran ahead like mad; shouting, screaming, wielding their bayonets, ready for the hand to hand combat, ready to kill.
Smelling victory, batallion A's men charged towards B's post for the final hand to hand combat

B’s men braced to be swarmed by the beasts running towards them. They prayed their last, vowed to fight till last breath and lay their lives for their nation. They huddled close together for the final combat of their lives.

A’s men closed in towards them. But just before a few meters away from battalion B’s men, they froze. They didn’t move any further. Al the A’s men stopped in their track, discomfort visible on their faces. Wind was blowing from B’s side to A’s side. Positioned in their places with gun in hand, the men on B’s side hadn’t bothered to bathe in last four days. The wind blowing from the Bs towards the As brought with it, a filthy stench, which overpowered the mighty men of A. A’s men threw their rifles on ground and covered their nose and face with their hands. Some of them coughed, sneezed and started nauseating. A few put their helmets over their face to escape the filthy stench, while some fell to the ground feeling giddy, unable to tolerate.

Batallion A's men fell to the ground unable to tolerate the foul smell emanating from batallion B's men

The wireless operator of A radioed back to their commander “Alfa calling Beta! Alfa calling Beta! A strange unidentified smell coming from the enemy’s side has affected our men. Unable to tolerate, our men are falling one by one. Please give further orders. His final words were “What’s that smell? What’s that smell boss?, before he passed out.

A’s commander analyzed the situation. The words flashed in his mind “Chemical warfare”. The enemy must be using chemical or biological weapons. His men, without any protection, would be helpless and die one by one. 

He at once ordered “Retreat! Retreat immediately!”

As if A’s men were waiting for just this order only. They immediately scrambled to go back, go away from B’s camp, away from the filthy smell about which everyone was asking “What’s that smell, boss?”

They retreated as fast as they could, leaving their rifles. Returning to their post, they rounded up their vehicles and abandoned the post immediately. They fled as fast as they could.
A's sodiers ran away as fast as they could 
Image courtesy staticflickr

Battalion A’s commander radioed to his headquarters “Biological or chemical weaponry usage by enemy suspected. Men ordered to retreat”.

In Battalion B’s camp, everyone was perplexed. The five hundred brave and mighty men of battalion A were running away from fifty scared men of battalion B. It took them some time to believe what was happening.  Then they realized that the victory was theirs. B’s men, who were sure of not being able to see another day, were watching the enemy running away from them.

B’s commander understood the situation quickly, “It’s the smell! It’s the smell my men, who haven’t bathed for last four days, are giving off, which has made the enemy run for their life”.

He declared, “The victory is ours”. “Go men, capture the enemy’s post,” he screamed.

B’s men rushed into A’s land, destroyed the bunkers, and captured the deserted post.

*  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Soon after the fall of their post at border, A’s government lodged a protest with United Nations alleging usage of chemical and biological weapons by nation B, and thereby violating the Geneva Convention which prohibits subjecting the enemy to atrocities in war.

Image courtesy thebookwheelblog  and 

The UN took it seriously and sent investigation teams to site. After collecting evidences and interviewing the people, the United Nations team concluded that-

-There was certainly a usage of chemical weapons by nation B. The foul smell emanating from unbathed soldiers could have contained harmful chemicals as well as disease causing bacteria.

-Usage of such harmful weaponry had resulted in severe psychological stress for the soldiers of nation A.

-The act on part of nation B was not only a violation of Geneva Convention but also against humanity.

UN warned nation B against indulging in such illegal and inhuman acts in the war. Also, the Geneva Convention was amended in 2014 to incorporate following-

- Usage of foul smell emanating from men who have not bathed shall be termed as inhuman and illegal in war.

- No nation shall use soldiers who are unbathed to indulge in to war activities.

- All nations shall ensure that the soldiers participating in war shall take bath twice daily.

- To facilitate compliance of above rules, all nations shall ensure that warm water bath facilities consisting of adequate number of Racold water heaters shall be made available at all war fronts.

- In independent delegation from the UN will carry out inspections at battle locations at the time of war to ensure availability of Racold water heaters. Any nation violating the rules may be subjected to condemnation by the UN.

Image courtesy pfannenstielfamily

The UN directed warring nations to ensure that their soldiers take bath twice daily     Image courtesy wikipedia

Since then the nature of wars changed. The Racold water heaters became the major purchases for the armies all over the world.

Any nation suspecting violation of this rule by enemy could report to United Nations by e-mailing a code phrase “What’s that smell, boss?”, and the UN would come heavily on the erring nation.

Visit Racold to know more

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A few more short stories are here
This post is written for Close Encounters of the Smelly Kind contest in IndiBlogger in association with Racold

Pictures are symbolic, only for illustration. Their source is mentioned near the picture with a backlink.



  1. Dear Saket Sir,

    May I please take the liberty to tag your blog for a blogging contest.

    Please check these links.


  2. My pleasure Nandhini.

    I enjoyed reading your post.

  3. hahahah wah wat a fun post! And yes bad smell can actually kill!

    All the best!

    1. Thanks Swarn Priya! Good to know that you liked it.

  4. Really an innovative take, Saket!
    Best wishes :)

    1. Congrats for the Grand prize! Supercool, Saket!
      Happy for you :)

    2. Thank you so much Anita!

  5. Congratulations Saket. A well deserved win :)

  6. Congrats Saket, a very nice post indeed

  7. Congrats!!! Kudos on the win!!! Well written and well deserved!

  8. Thanks Sunila!
    I enjoyed reading your post.

  9. Quite an unusual take on the topic!
    Congrats Saket! :)

  10. After a long time I may conclude that this post was a very well deserved win! :) Congrats Saket! Kepe it up!

    1. Thanks! Nice of you to let me know that you liked my post.

  11. This was a killer post. The idea, the innovation, the script all made a deadly winning stuff. Congrats Saket.

    1. Thanks Neo, for letting me know that you liked it.

  12. superb writeup :)
    very well deserved. congratulations!

    1. Thanks for letting me know that you liked the post!

  13. very good one...congrats for winning the contest

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. hehe never imagined that stench could be linked to war so creatively! Good thought and congrats on winning :-)

    1. Thanks Shilpi, for your nice words for my post!