Saturday, December 30, 2006

Common Cold

The winter has settled down in Bangalore quite comfortably. It had its own phases of heavy mist followed by no mist but very low temperatures, mild mists and lots of dew, clear skies and temperatures down -causing breaths to freeze once they exit the nasal openings; and many other flavors. And with the temperature steadily in the neighbourhood of 26-28 degrees max and 14-17 degrees min, I have finally caught cold.

The causes can be myriad. I usually reach office when the temperatures have still not started their upwards journey. The wind that sneaks through the visor of the helmet that's traveling at approximately 70 to 80 kmph can easily slip a few viruses of common cold down the throat. Or, recently I had to travel over-night in a so-called air conditioned bus. Then within an hour of departure the conditioning system had given up (according to the conductor, it was out of gas!), and it started to feel suffocating inside. To make things a bit more airy, the conductor opened up the top emergency opening to let the fresh air in. This was right on top of my seat. This must have invited more viruses. Lastly, only a day or two ago, after a rather tiring game of basketball I could not resist temptation of cold-milk, which was too cold to my liking; but at that time the thirst was calling the shots and I gulped down within two or three breaths.

The viruses accumulated and my nose finally gave up. Today morning when I woke up, I knew I had it. A mild cough, slight dizziness and warmer body was all it took for a nice attack of common cold to take me over. In the afternoon, watching the Indian batsmen quickly return to the comforts of the dressing room worsened my mood and with that the cold. I was quickly on to my second handkerchief of the day.

The common cold has three phases (at least, as my experience with it goes). For two to three days, it plays the waiting game. When you don't want it, it strikes. First day is bearable. You can contain the liquid oozing out of the nose quite comfortably. The second day it hits you hard; you can barely think. You can't sleep, nor can you sit upright. Basically, you are exhausted by doing absolutely nothing. Even the morning sunlight is not bearable, and at the same time, you don't want the coldness in the air. Finally, the attack subsides and third day onwards, the cold gets transformed into cough. At first it is mild, becomes a bit severe and finally after a week or so, it leaves you.

Fortunately, in the past year, I haven't had many cold attacks, thanks to the relatively fresh air in my neighbourhood and friendly temperatures set inside the office. In Pune, when I was studying electronics engineering, I had to cross a heavy traffic junction on my way to the college from my hostel room. The smoke would be unbearable at the rush hours, and in no time I would catch cold. At that time, it was yet another reason to bunk classes and do nothing. Or should I say, even that excuse was not necessary for our professors would take care of all the stress we were going through by not taking classes at all!

But now, I have don't like [it] cold. More so, as there is an olympics coming up at the office, and I would be the last person to miss it due to fitness reasons...

A friend of mine once suggested that even if there is no cure found yet for the common cold, it is not very difficult to beat it. One very good way he suggested to overcome it was: to write. I haven't had enough experience to prove it right or wrong, but I have certainly given it a try.

If you are wondering if it is the right occasion to catch cold as the new year's eve is just round the corner and one or two glasses of real cough syrup (which may be termed as spiritual treatment) would do me no harm: sorry mate, that's not for me! (Yeah, just to be on record...)

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