With a 13-inch tail, Chandre Oram, a tea-estate worker, has become quite an object of devotion in his native Alipurduar, West Bengal and believes that Hanuman is manifest in him. “I was born on Ram Navami (birthday of Lord Ram). People have a lot of faith in me – they get cured of severe ailments when they touch my tail. I believe I can do a lot of good to those who come to me with devotion,” says the man, before whom thousands of people queue up each day to seek blessings. In a corner of the courtyard of his home, Oram has set up a small Hanuman temple, where he receives offerings on Ram Navami, which he later offers to the deity.
However, because of the tail, Oram has found it difficult to get a bride. “Almost 20 women have turned down marriage proposals. They see me and agree to a match. But as soon as I turn around, they see my tail and leave. But I have decided I will marry the woman who accepts me and my tail. Or else, I’ll remain a bachelor like Hanuman,” he said.
Oram’s family is proud of his tail and has turned down offers from doctors for its removal by surgery. “He will not survive without his tail. It has become part of his being, his existence,” said Rekha, his sister. Doctors say that true tails are rare. But they are located in the coccygeal end of the vertebral column whereas Oram’s tail shoots out from the lumbar region. “The coccyx is a vestige in humans and we stopped growing tails from that region a long time ago when we evolved from monkeys. Oram’s case seems an aberration, an offshoot of a congenital defect,” said eminent surgeon Dr B Ramana. The medical community reads the monkey man’s case as a spina bifida — a defect in the bone of the spine covered by a hole with lots of hair covering it.