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“WHY DIDN’T MY TEARS MOISTEN ALL DIRT”: SCIENCE BEHIND TEARS?

Born in a middle class family in rural Bengal, we had the pleasure to listen the songs either in long play records in social gatherings or from the broadcasting of All India Radio in ether. Like many others common people, I also had a passion of Tagore’s songs or songs of humble submission. One song I still remember and used to listen now also- “Why didn’t my tears moisten all dirt — (Keno Choker Jale Bhijie Dilam Na Go — )”. Reasons or the unsung reasons, everybody of us shed the tears rolled down the checks very often. But still tears roll down-whether due to the profound loss of a dear or near one, or due to the unexpected joy and merriment, exposure due to harmful irritants or due to keeping dirt and debris away. A happy ending of a love story or story of life, the irreparable loss due to heartfelt break up or an exposure to the stringent smoke of burning chilies- all the consequences ended with tears rolling down the checks. Statistically speaking, you can loss 15–20 gallons of tear per year due to different reasons but if not, you have been suffering from the congenital error of the blockage of tear option in biological system. Tear- the means of communication may be of three types-basal tears, reflex tears and emotional tears. Here we should discuss the emotional tears as a way of exchange our inner thought by the discharge of the fluid due to different reasons irrespective of consequences either the pleasure of haves or the unpleasant aroma of haves not. Tears have its own biological basis. Lachrymal glands present in the inner eyes responsible for tears at the exposure of physical, chemical or emotional outburst. Then the tears drain out into the puncta, thereafter travel through small canals in the eyelid and ultimately rolled down through the checks. During the emotional outburst, the lachrymal drainage system overflowed with the small narrow river, spill out our eyes and become emotional look. Tears have different composition and you have tastes of salt crying during childhood days. But tears are made of different ingredients like mostly water along with the electrolytes of Na, K, Mg, Ca, bicarbonate, chloride. In addition to these, different proteins like lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin and IgA, lipids and mucins. Emotional tears contain some hormones like prolactine, adenocorticotrophic hormone and leucine. But why should cry? A variety of reasons are there for our emotional crying. You are sad due to different reasons in our way of life, angry or happiness due to merriment. All these incidents brings an impulse on the glands by some sorts of inducers, activate the lachrymal glands and tears drain out. “Crying for emotional reasons makes you feel better, releases tension and gives you a psychic reboot,” Dr. Roizen says. . “And we cry for social reasons to communicate distress, sincerity, attraction, aversion — depending on the context.”Tears can relay chemical messages to the surroundings that enable to bring empathy in other people. The fellow people can relay a message of compassion to overcome the stress. Tears has manifold functions like soothing effect, helps to relieve pain, enhances mood, releases toxins and relieves stress, aids sleep , fights bacteria and also improves vision. The biology behind the tears is the magic of the reality of science but how can we forget the drama of the two fighting groups comes come to an end by the sudden outburst of crying. Who can ignore the saga of life as told by Lord Tennyson in his epoch-making war poem “Home they brought her warrior dead”. The entire neighbor got relief when the widow of the dead soldier had outburst likes a summer tempest. Who has not shed tears in the fate of the Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet in the fictional romantic tale of Titanic (1997), the ship of dreams and romance? Pieces of women (2021), Little women (2019), Manchester by the Sea (2016), Rent (2005), A Walk to Remember (2002) are some of the movies where the people left the curtain with tears rolled down the checks. Anand (1971), a blockbuster movie in Hindi where dying Anand and his passion for life brought gallons of tears among the viewers. Masoom (1983), Tere Namm (2003), Baghban (2003), Taare Zameen Par (2007) are some of the beautiful portraits of life in Hindi where your emotional outburst is waiting. Not only in films, are the wars between the groups or countries since the time immemorial the source of emotional discharges of the sensitive mind. Who cannot shed the tears having the hue and cry of Gandhari after losing 100 sons in the epic, Mahabharata in the war field of Kurukhetra? I shed tears time and again in different times in solitude for the profound loss or in the joy of happiness. “Tears are simply the raindrops from the storms inside us”. Tears have many colors in the different shades of life. Gone are the days but the human emotion still enable to shed tears even in the irony of market economy and globalization. At the end of the day, we have the humble submission to the almighty by uttering “Lighting the lamp of all my pain, I will make an offering, the devotion with my pain is not yet over — -“. Let the color of tears bring the rainbow of life.

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Nandadulal Sannigrahi

Nandadulal Sannigrahi

Associate Professor at Nistarini College Purulia, West Bengal