ACHOO stands for Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst. The organisation of really contrived acronyms defines ACHOO, that is another name for Photic sneeze reflex, as a condition that affects around a fifth to a third of the population in which stimuli such as bright lights trigger uncontrolled sneezing. (Also known as “sun sneezing”).

Now, I am extremely excited to know it is an unusually inherited syndrome (as worded by Medal advanced medical decisions). Why am I so interested in this particular syndrome? No prize for the right guess. It is because I have it! I thought of it as something weird and nice. Nice because none of the people I know have it. Imagine, ancestors I have never met in my life had it and I got it from them.
I don’t remember exactly when I noticed it for the first time. But it was during under graduation that I told one of my best friends about this embarrassing thing. I just have to sneeze as soon as I step out in the sun. So when ever I have cold and I need to sneeze, I go out into the sunlight and there you go ACHOO, a happy relief! I keep telling my mother that if I am ever kidnapped and returned to her after a plastic surgery (the ideal formula for Hindi tele serials- character undergoes trauma (namely, accident, kidnapping or some such thing) and returns only after having a plastic surgery done. Now it really doesn’t take a very smart person to realise that these traumatic incidents happen only when these actors want to leave the serial but the characters have to continue anyway. Jai Ekta Kapoor*) she should ask me to go into the sun. That will tell her if it is really me.

I wasn’t very comfortable with people knowing about it before but now that I know it is something unusual but not so unusual that none others have it, I am okay with it. I don’t exactly fit in well anywhere anyway. This only adds to the ‘I am different and that’s the way I like it’ attitude. Ok so anyone out there who sneezes involuntarily as soon as they step out into the sun, big shout out and cheers. Have a happy happy weekend.

*Ekta Kapoor: one of the most celebrated directors in the Hindi Television world and also owns one of the most successful production houses.


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