The past three or four days have been like a roller coaster ride for me. I was suffering from diarrhoea. Now I’ve had my share of loose motions before. My stomach is relatively strong and was easily able to come out of them. There is this medication called Entero Quinol that was very affective. One or two of these were more than enough to get back in shape. But this time I was facing something new. I have not come across such a brutal attack in my entire conscious life. This thing just refused to go away. So much so that on the first day I had to take as many as 7 tablets.
The roller coaster began after this. I was never really sure if it was over. The thing about such diseases is that if you decide to take a leave, you always get this guilty feeling if you are not sick enough. But if you decide to go, there is always this high strung tension on your mind. You never know what could happen. After all with the heavy rains, travel times become notoriously long and the probability of you being in an uncomfortable spot increases that much more. Anyway I decided that it is best to not to go and I was duly supported by the forces of nature.
As I realised that I was encountering a new potent form of the disease, I decided that a simple use of medication wouldn’t help. I needed to change my diet to really get well. Now a new trouble began. I thought I am not really knowledgeable enough in such matters and decided to stay away from cooked food on the first day. I ate bananas and papaya. I next day when I was talking to my neighbours, say N1 about the illness, they said that Papaya was an absolute no go. “It is a warm fruit. It heats the system”. They were also not too sure of the bananas. I panicked and sought their highly informed advice. “malai burfi” (a sweet derived from milk) was the first word that came out. I was surprised. After all this would be one of the toughest things to digest. I was reassured that my apprehensions were uncalled for and malai burfi indeed would bring quick relief. My interest was aroused. I asked for more dietary advice. Cake, bread, oranges, curd etc. were among the few things suggested. “Great! So my diet will not be so uninteresting like the papayas after all”, I thought.
I managed to survive one more day. Now was the turn of another neighbour, say N2 to give advice. I asked him about the bananas as there were still some left and I was not too sure whether I should go ahead and eat them or not. “Bananas cause constipation which is the opposite of what you have. So go ahead.” OK. Fair enough. N1 was not too sure about bananas anyway. So I finished the bananas in breakfast. Soon after I was talking to a close friend, A. “Don’t eat bananas, but papayas are good.” I enquired about the curd. “I guess it should be ok to eat curd, but there is something about curd that I am not able to recall right now. Why take the risk? I suggest you avoid it as of now.” Later that day another friend, B gave this piece of advice, “All milk products should be avoided and that includes curd too”. So if we consolidate the different nuggets of advice I got from all sources, I should and should not eat papaya, I should and should not eat banana, I should and should not eat curd, I should eat malai burfi, cake and bread. Earlier I was just sick. Now I was sick and confused.
I had all of the above food items (yes, even the dangerous seeming malai burfi) and have not found enough reason to either support or negate the claims made by any of the advice givers. So when it comes to the stomach, everyone has an opinion. And it necessarily is not the same. I suspect everyone forms an opinion based on his/her own experiences. I guess everybody has a unique tummy, like a fingerprint, and it behaves in its own unique fashion. Of course it will also depend on the kind of food one has been having through his/her life. One should take advice but it is also helpful to experiment a bit to know what is suitable an what is not. I know this is but common sense but because I didnt face a major fiasco with my tummy till now, I was a bit complacent. I wont be now.