This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

          Here is  a  small riddle for you.  Try to get at the answer.

          It's a disease and yet not a  disease in the technical sense.  If you sit next to a person affected by it you too may contract it. Even by catching it, you may not  suffer from it at all because it's a harmless  disease !  Can you name the darned thing? 


          It's YAWNING.


          Yes, friend.  If  your  neighbour yawns heartily, you too would yawn unless you had applied your brakes to suppress it. The time of the day or night, doesn't matter at all.  Yawning spreads and may spread like wild fire in a group  any time and anywhere.


           If the time is after 2200 hours and you had attended a drinking session or had sat through a  boring entertainment show, take it from me, if one persons lets it off with a gurgling sound, the whole crowd would echo it with equal vigour.  Right or not?


           But if you yawn during a lecture in college and the professor is a  no nonsense' type you would have it from him left right and centre.  He might even ask you to stand up on your chair to toss away that nice little slumber from your eyes.


           I have quoted  all the above examples  because Yawning is considered  an unwelcome phenomenon in any group of people.  It spells in  very loud terms,  boredom and fatigue.


           But, the scientists disagree and so do the medicos.  You know, we are always at some kind of war with these medico-science  chaps. You say one thing and they would contradict you with all the force at their command.  Let's say,  you are fond of something and you want to enjoy it to the full  and these Technocrats, will say it's harmful for your health and it may reduce your life span by at least 15 years and so on.  I am talking about smoking and drinking.  Is there one smoker in our midst, who doesn't enjoy every puff he takes from a cigarette? Is there one single person who doesn't enjoy every sip of that glorious beverage called Whisky.? But the kill-joys would tell  you that you  would die sooner than you expect if you are habituated to smoking and drinking.  And there comes a full stop to all your enjoyment and your  wife too would take sides with them  and  force you to become a non-smoker  and a tee-totaller from the following morning.


          No, no, don't curse these poor gentlemen too much.  They have something good to say about yawning.


          When you yawn, your body is not at rest, nor is it inert in any way.  Your mouth opens wide like a tiny cave and your jaw drops and you inhale a lot of air in the process. And when that happens, your lungs expand naturally and some of the air is then expelled back through your mouth.  Your heart beat rate can also rise anything up to  30 percent during your yawning stint.


          While we say that yawning occurs when we are tired or feel  drowsy or dull, the S..Community hold a view  that our bodies can induce yawning  to help draw in more oxygen or to remove an excess of carbon dioxide.


          The grand experts  have also discovered that all animals, mammals, cats,rats and dogs and all kinds of fishes including whales also yawn.  A master piece of a discovery  is even a 11 week old foetus gapes inside its mother's womb.


          And here is another scientific disclosure. Yawning is  a protective reflex to redistribute  an oil-like substance called surfactant  that keeps the lungs lubricated and keeps them from collapsing.    So, if you don't yawn now and then, your own breathing including deep breathing will become harder and harder and in course of time well you know what.


          So, there you are friends.  Yawning may be a forerunner of humdrum and an unwelcome social habit all right  but the blessed practice is very vital for our life. So, yawn to glory always but you had better do it inside the bathroom if you are doing it as a drill to keep your lungs in shape.


         Now,now, if you didn't yawn after reading this uninteresting article, it may mean that you believe all what I have written. Thank you. !



                                                                    Sweetgrace (Israel Jayakaran)