Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


The Art of Breaking Wind

By on February 8, 2008

On a recent intercontinental flight, I had a fellow passenger in the section of the cabin where I was seated with a particularly horrid case of flatulence. Typically, when these sorts of things happen, one accepts it no matter how unpleasant the odor, as one of those things that our Creator in a burst of humorous creativity decided to bestow on us His creations.

It is only natural, everyone does it.

So when I sniffed the first wafts of the post-digestive vapors, I squirmed a bit and went back to the book I was reading. By the time my olfactory lobes had been held ransom to the nauseous scent for the fifth time in a row, I began to seriously think that there was something wrong.

You see, I have acquired a horrible habit of not being able to sleep on airplanes and so when I have exhausted all possible preoccupations – reading, listening to music, etc, my mind does tend to wander a bit. This is why I began to think that perhaps following the first encounter with the scent, my mind had sent a message to my sensory organs, transmitting me into a time warp where that was all I could smell…and trust me at this point that was all I could smell.

I scanned the faces of my fellow passengers for some telltale signs of not just guilt – yes it would have been nice to put a face to the smell – but also to reassure myself that I was not the only one smelling this.

And thus began my next preoccupation which was watching the obvious human reaction to the odor. I knew that the odors were coming from one source because they all smelled the same so I had ruled out the possibility that the whole cabin was letting it drop as a result perhaps of the meal we had all had. At the same time ruling out the somewhat appealing possibility that it was just a question of time when I would let it drop too – which would have been just peachy.

Talk about fire for fire – so you think you can fart, here take this.

Sadly, on this day, my digestive organs were quite subtle and there was nothing happening in that department.

As I watched two ladies and a little girl literally gasping for air as the wafts filtered through the pressurized cabin for one of several times during our journey, I deleted the warp theory from my mind and instead took another mental journey as I wondered what combination of culinary delicacies could have produced such an unpleasant yet consistent odor.

Shortly after this while back on solid ground and breathing fresh air, I was reading Rohinton Mistry‘s – A Fine Balance – when my in-air experience came back to haunt me albeit in a more pleasant way that made me smile. May I pause here and say that Mr Mistry is one of the most fluid and lyrical writers I have come across in a long time which is why the two sentences he uses to describe an encounter between a member of one of the lower castes in India and a local brahmin (supposedly an older and wiser man) not only made me reminsce but also made me smile widely

He pivoted on one buttock and broke wind. Dukhi leaned back to allow it free passage, wondering what penalty might adhere to the offence of interfering with the waft of brahminical flatus

I tried to imagine all of us in the cabin that day, somehow dodging those vapors as they made their way to the point of evanescence and smiled even wider acknowledging the fact that the art of breaking wind and the human reaction to it (no matter how unpleasant) is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone.

  1. Reply


    February 10, 2008


    It’s so funny that the book you were reading coincidentally described the art of breaking wind…”and even in a funnier scenario…

    I’m glad you didn’t return fire for fire. Lol. Nice write-up, enjoyed it.

  2. Reply


    February 11, 2008

    I don’t know many who can write about breaking wind and keep me entranced.

  3. Reply


    February 15, 2008

    lol! Jola Naibi, I can’t efven imagine you trying to retort with a fart in-kind.

    lol! Must check in on you this weekend. Kisses to the little one!

  4. Reply


    February 16, 2008

    I’ve often wondered what the appropriate ettiquette is when the waft of anothers flatulence invades ones space (especially at work). Do you smile and act like its ok? Gag and run out the room seeking fresh air or do a “JolaNaibi” and look round the room seeking the face of the guilty party? Help!

    Rohinton Mistry is also one of my favourite writers. Its a shame we haven’t heard from him in a while. I actually had never heard of the religion Zoroastrainism till I read “Family Matters”.

  5. Reply


    February 19, 2008

    Sounds funny but it must have been disgusting!

  6. Reply


    February 20, 2008

    You certainly have more than a few funny bones. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  7. Reply


    February 20, 2008

    You certainly have more than a few funny bones. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  8. Reply


    March 1, 2008

    That was funny, 🙂 If it were me you would not have been able to suss me out. I would have had the straightest face on… maybe even join you in criticizing the ‘farter’, lol

    This is why I hate airplanes; whatever happens, you’re trapped. Unlike being in a bus or a car where you have the option of jumpint out of the window whenever things get too, err… smelly.

  9. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    March 7, 2008

    @Jaycee…LOL…I know I was still recovering from my experience when it happened
    @CW- Thanks for the compliment
    @SS – You’ll be surprised
    @morountodun – Great to meet a fellow Mistry fan…I am just rounding up ‘A Fine Balance’ and I thought it was extremely engaging. He does not pull his punches at all…that Mr Mistry. As per the correct etiquette for confronting unwanted wafts of flatulence…I don’t the book has been written on that yet…I will tell you this much, I hope I never have to experience that again.
    @doja – It was both
    @kiibaati – Thanks
    @Bubbles – You made me laugh…I know quite a few people who tried to get away with that in secondary school, but we had someone who would go around smelling clothes and then they would look so silly if they were caught

  10. Reply


    March 24, 2008

    You never want to walk into an empty elevator after someone else just changed the air quality. If you do, u hope no one else joins you for the ride.

    My work life involves asking people questions about the nature and qualities of several bodily functions . Patients mind more than I do and one is constantly putting them at ease by telling them it is routine that we ask these questions. What is not routine though is hearing and smelling the loud ones a colleague I share an office with lets go of on a daily basis.

    Nice post Jola, enjoyed the style!

  11. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    March 25, 2008

    @naapali – Under normal circumstances, most elevator rides last minutes at the most …imagine being stuck in a pressurized cabin…thanks for stopping by and sharing about your colleague that let’s it rip…it says something about your collegial relationship, if he is not bashful about letting you share the wafts of his flatus…lol

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