New Delhi: Salman Khan was cute when he did it in "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" and Omi Vaidya`s "Silencer" got all the laughs when he let it off in "3 Idiots". But flatulence, as the many millions who suffer from it will tell you, is not funny, just embarrassing.
It`s abdominal bloating, also known as "breaking wind", "passing wind" or, "farting". A problem that most experience and few talk about openly.
Caused by reasons such as overeating, consumption of difficult to digest foods like milk and rajma and other health problems, the audible discharge of intestinal gas is annoying to say the least.
According to dietician Anushree Sinha, avoid any food item that "belongs to the legumes plants family", whose characteristic fruit is a seed pod. Black chickpeas, peas, rajma and the like "contain trisaccharide (a carbohydrate) like stachyoses and raffinoses that are not easily broken by intestine, hence not easily digested and as a result leads to gas formation", Sinha told IANS.
It can be avoided with just a little bit of care.
Daily exercise and the consumption of at least eight glasses of water on a regular basis help in food digestion and prevent abdominal bloating.
Said dietician Niharica Singh Tomar: "High carbohydrates intake causes gas problems. Food items like soy milk, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, beans, tofu, legumes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions cause gas problems. So, one should eat it in small quantities."
"Also, working out daily helps the digestive system work more efficiently. Don`t sit or sleep immediately after eating," she added.
Food items like brown rice, lentils and sweet potatoes contain starch and can cause gas problems too. Eat slowly, chew properly to help in digesting food, she said.
Also avoid "uncooked food", Tomar said.
According to Rupali Datta, dietician in Fortis Hospital, you can avoid "acute gas problems by taking antacids or natural homemade remedies like ajwain ka pani (carom water) or jeera ka pani (cumin water). We recommend it to women post their deliveries. It helps cure acidity and improves the digestive system."
Datta also suggests small, frequent meals.
"Avoid juices, both canned and fresh, because they are high in sugar. Rather go for lemonade and coconut water. Drink lukewarm water after meals. Go for a walk after dinner," Datta told IANS.
Many, of course, don`t adhere to the dos and don`ts, making for a pretty uncomfortable social situation.
Delhi-based media professional Nayanita Singh says she avoids sitting in a train`s general compartment because of bad smells.
"I hate travelling in the general compartment. I get so irritated because of the bad smells - body odour, smell of the alcohol, or you never know if someone farts too. It`s irritating," she complained.
But then there is that feel free, be free kind of people.
"When I am with my friends and I feel like farting, I don`t really care what my friends will think. Sometimes they laugh, make faces or ignore. But when I am with my girlfriend, I go to the washroom," said 20-year-old Himanshu Chaddha.