Getting 'colonised'

Published: Sep 22, 2019, 05:55 IST | Meenakshi Shedde |

It takes three sessions on alternate days, while fasting, to clear out the large intestines, which are about five feet long. At the end of it, I was pleased to have a new me, inside out

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Meenakshi SheddeI never imagined in my life that I'd write a column about poo. So, if you're squeamish, you can turn the page now, or read on in fascinated horror.

Recently, I was invited over by a friend, whose daughter-in-law returned from her maika, bringing home their first grandchild, a baby girl, for the first time. The new mother was radiant as they did a 'kanku pagla': the baby's feet were dipped in kumkum water, and it was made to 'walk' on a white cloth, so its adorable first footprints were captured in auspicious red forever. As everyone cooed, the little one let out a small, tentative whimper. The young mother took the baby in, laid her down, flipped open her diaper, matter-of-factly lifted the baby's ankles together in the air with practiced ease, and glanced down, waiting for "deliverables", without pausing in her chatting. A fleeting glance, and mums can generally tell if the delivery is acceptable; if suspicious, they unsqueamishly sniff to check what the problem could be, without turning a hair. Women can do this; the male of the species is not generally equipped with such fortitude.

It made me reflect on how mums—and doctors—are trained to unemotionally look at bodily functions as "information". We can unemotionally look at our blood reports, ECGs and X-rays. I tried my damndest to do the same when I recently underwent colon hydro therapy. I was at the Jindal Naturecure Institute, undergoing a full detox, that included a "colonic". I entered the room with trepidation. A kindly lady, Lakshmi Venkatamma, asked me to change into one of those shameless hospital smocks that has a front side and virtually no back-side. Luckily, I had mainly to lie down, so I didn't need to roll my eyes too much. She offered me a chocolate. I was immediately suspicious, as if it were meant to placate me for what was to follow.

Then, she gave me a painless enema and said, "lie comfortably on your back". Imagine my beetrootedness, when all the stuff from my intestines showed up on 'screen'—in a clear glass pipe, that too backlit by a tubelight. Acidity hai, madam, she said, when a yellowish tinge flowed past. Then followed bits and bobs and elongated bubbles, of which I shall spare you the details. Sab purana potty nikal raha hai, madam, she explained. She said recent stuff got cleared with an enema, but it took a 'colonic' to clear archival debris. Every few minutes, she would raise the water pressure, and when I raised my hand, she would immediately stop. The good thing is, unlike an enema, when you're in a blasted hurry to get to the toilet, here, a clever enema pipe system allows a constant circulation of fresh water and simultaneous elimination of intestinal archives and toxins for about 45 mins, while you lie back and champ on your reluctant chocolate. About 30 litres of water runs through your intestines per session, she said. "Abhi aapka pet bilkul saaf hai, madam," she said, handing me a glass of buttermilk, to restore the intestinal flora flushed out in the spring cleaning. It takes three sessions on alternate days, while fasting, to clear out the large intestines, which are about five feet long. At the end of it, I was pleased to have a new me, inside out.

Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at

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