Hamsa (59) , popularly known as 'Petrol' Hamsa in and around Somwarpet, can go without a square meal a day, but not without at least 100 ml of his piece-de-resistance per day. Since the tender age of ten, he has been living mostly by sniffing petrol and keeping a piece of waste dipped in petrol in his mouth. A native of Karkalli village near Somwarpet, Hamsa, an orphan, took a liking to the 'intoxicating' odour of petrol while working in a workshop.
He began by sniffing petrol and then took to tasting the fuel. The practice soon became an addictive habit. Today, he cannot do without petrol! People of the area know of his expensive 'staple diet' and support him, especially in the wake of the recent steep hike in the prices of petro products.
''Almost everyone here knows of my craving for petrol and all the petrol bunks give me petrol free of cost up to 100 ml each day,'' Hamsa says.
He has disproved popular conception that the fuel would have damaged his organs like lungs and heart. Doctors who tested him have certified that he is hale and hearty.
However, Hamsa, now working as a bus agent in Somwarpet bus stand, dreads fire and smoking as he feels that he might explode, if he attempts to smoke or go near fire.