To misquote Shakespeare,
“Cowards die a thousand times before their death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that a full septic tank, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

The potty backlash started getting ominous a couple of weeks ago, and last week Sonati and I decided, that since the boys were not around we would attempt this Herculean task. But then the lightning struck the meter and we had to tackle that. So this problem was put on the back burner. (What a relief!)

When the electricity was restored, and we had to think about this problem, it was overwhelming: Cowards die a thousand times…
Was the soak pit full? No it can’t be.
But if it is, how will the “septic tank” vandi climb our slope?
What if the pipeline was blocked with roots? We would have to replace the pipeline.
Since Arunachalam was working on the land, we got him to unearth the pipe leading from the potty to the soak pit carefully. When this pipeline was laid 20 years ago, I had assumed that I would never have to unearth it since the soak pit was large enough to last forever. But was forever, now, 20 years? Cowards die a thousand times…
When Arunachalam had finished unearthing the pipe, we saw that the pipeline was fine: no roots had insinuated themselves in… We poured water and though there was a backlash at the potty, once the water was in the pipe there didn’t seem to be any blockage. “Nalla paadaradhu” (It is singing well), Arunachalam said of the pipe. And indeed it was. 
So the problem was in the house, or in the pipe leading out of the house: A masonry job?
Cowards die a thousand times…
Having taken the plunge, however, we decided to “do or die” as it were. So we got Arunachlam to build us a pit loo, so that we could survive the loss of a functioning potty for an extended period.
He was the one who had built us pit loos when we had a group of some 20 kids come camping here from Auroville, many years ago. Those kids used the loos for a week or so, but we eventually used them on and off over a period of three years when we didn’t have water. Pit loos are so lovely and low maintenance. We really need to build a permanent one. But I digress.

Sonati and I decided to find out the possibilities for help from Karumandurai. Taking this opportunity, we decided to lay the kitchen waste pipeline again; since that had been ad-hoc for more than a year. Anything to distract from the potty problem: Cowards die a thousand times…We acquired all the stuff for that pipeline, and then asked Raja at the hardware store about our problem. He suggested acid which is used to clean the potty. Jothi said that he could send a couple of plumber boys if I couldn’t solve the problem on my own. All very well, but I still had to identify what was to be done.

Back home, I decided to try a hot detergent solution and also to use a plunger of some sort. Surely it was a fatberg of some sort, but would it be dislodgeable? But in that awkward s-trap, what would create suction? Enter the humble Hawaii chappal:

An old slipper was lying around. It would bend and not break. And it did create a suction! And I did hear the glub-glub sound associated with plumbers unblocking sinks from my childhood. And the backlash reduced!
We used the acid for good measure, and that dislodged the cement drips which have been an unsightly feature of our potty since the year zero when inexperienced masons supervised by an inexperienced me set it up.

And today we have a potty as good as new, though we did die a few times in the process :-)