How long do you take to poop?

Yes, it is really about the ‘big job’ that I am asking. Surprised! Read on – I think it is important.

Most of us do not take excretion as a serious business. Many have challenges in engaging in this task. I have heard people say they sit for hours (not minutes) on end in anticipation. Too many exert much pressure to reduce the anticipation – after all we all are so busy that we cannot waste time sitting. But pressure over time leads to complications! Ask people who go to gastroenterologists seeking help with excretion.  Only when this becomes a problem do realise how serious doing the ‘big job’ is, to life and healthy living.

Hence when I came across this interesting study, I could not hold myself from sharing. It appears from the research referred to below that if you are taking more than 12 seconds to get done in the morning – you take more time than what most mammals do.

While this is not a prescription for healthy living, I definitely think being aware is the first step in that direction. Read about this interesting research and you will know much more about pooping and also about how interesting a life in research can be.

Short Overview:

General Overview (slightly longer):

Research Article (published in the journal ‘Soft Matter’):!divAbstract



Vedantic Wednesday: “Who will cry when you cry?” – Part 2

Last week we started discussing the question – ‘who will cry if we cry?’ ( which in my opinion is a question that has a lot at stake, especially in a turbulence filled world. As India turns into one of the youngest nations in the world, we do not want to court economic development at the cost of a sick society.

While on one side we are touting the much spoken of ‘youth’ as our biggest asset, on the other side we are also seeing a lot of this group falling prey to ‘lifestyle sicknesses’ way early in their lives. On a recent visit to a local drug store I was startled to hear the vendor tell one of the customers that he had run out of anti-depressants. He was also saying that the demand was too high and most nearby stores had run out of stock too. They are all awaiting replenishment of stocks the next day.

What started off as vocational problems such as back pain, joint pain, obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, etc is now seeing more cases of emotional sicknesses such as depression, schizophrenia, etc.,. Where are we headed? Why is all this happening? With so much real time access to people via mobiles phones, tablets with 3G/4G access – why is it that people are feeling lonely? Is access to real-time communication a problem? Or is it the reason why most of us have neither the time nor the attention to empathize and help one another? A root-cause analysis on the issue is a must for the well being of our entire society.

A few decades ago joint families used to be a common sight in India. Hence there were always people available for support. The family requirements were always managed by a senior member and the overall peace and happiness of the family was protected. It provided the necessary emotional support system that young people required as they stepped out into the world. Wise counsel for advice, a shoulder to cry on and people to help you get out of situations were available at beck-and-call.

But with the onset of nuclear families and alarming number of single parent run households, it is certain that most young minds are leading shallow (socially) lives. Due to this their emotional states are also brittle. No wonder that one of the big trends observed by the healthcare industry is the rise in emotional sicknesses. It also seems that these diseases tend to increase proportionally with economic development! If this continues, we may actually be a rich, but sick nation which is young as well. Not a great combination to look forward to! It is then in the hands of every one of us to ‘think’ what and how we want to lead our lives. It is then in our own best interests to study how to live life. It is in our overall interests that we learn how to form social connections with human beings in the real world (beyond the virtual world).


Vedantic Wednesday: “Who will cry when you cry?” – Part 1

I know there is a popular book by the title ‘Who will cry when you die?’ by Robin Sharma. His success as an author is undeniable. His books and related products selling in millions! Since I have not read the book yet and I do not know what it contains. While the title of the book triggers in me numerous thoughts for reflection and introspection, this blog has nothing to do with that book in particular. Will someone cry at your death is something that you will never know! But a deeper question arose in me during the course of some experiences last week – ‘will someone cry when you cry?’

It is a question that led me to a series of thoughts about how we lead our lives. In our busy lives we have limited face-to-face interactions with people. Most of the communication is with and through devices. So whether it is stress, anger, fear, or any strong emotion, the immediate reaction is to use the phone to tweet, message, or post an update! If you are not so mobile yet, you get to the computer and play games or do the same as the above – communicate! Very often most people are preoccupied with their own problems and challenges. Hence when we reach out to them, they don’t have the time or the space (physical or emotional) to lend an ear. Due to the lack of building enough relationships most of us have turned to one-way communication channels to vent our emotions. This has led to a lot more cases of loneliness, depression, and numerous other mental ailments. It is widely stated that many of our workers (especially white collar) and people with whom we spend time could actually be struggling with the new age lifestyle diseases.

What is the root cause of all this? It is because as social animals we are dependent on networks in the world for our existence. When these networks are strong, it gives us the confidence to face challenges, setbacks, problems, etc and get back home. It makes us share our emotions with those closely networked members and who in turn provide us empathetic responses. These empathetic messages, a shoulder to cry on, a chance to discuss challenges, a reassurance that there is someone to fight it out with us and to know that we are not alone helps us get out of these mental imbalances (though minor) quickly. But if these support systems are poor, one tends to decline and fall prey to these illnesses.

The question posed ‘who will cry when you cry?’ actually is asking if you have this network which will stand by you when you face a problem or challenge in life? Will you have people who will be concerned about your concerns? Will there be people who will give up their priorities temporarily and have the time and space to provide you comfort as well as support? Are there people who will go beyond their call of duty to ensure you are fine? Do you have such people? What are you doing to find such people? What are you doing to keep them with you?