Dhaka, Bangladesh
How many jokers does it take to make a light bulb laugh?

How many jokers does it take to make a light bulb laugh?

Vaishali R. Venkat

Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain. ~ Charlie Chaplin On May 5, 2019, little pockets of humanity erupted in conniptions all over the world to mark the 21st World Laughter Day. The commemmoration, owing its birth to Dr. Madan Kataria of Mumbai, sees people assemble in parks, squares and spots of greenery, and laugh their heads off, all because they believe in the therapeutic value of laughter. What, I ask, however, about the remaining 364 days? Do we find time to break into a grin over something - trivial or grave - every once in a while? Laughter, as we experience from films, books, and our day-to-day interactions and observations, is always enriching and elevating, having as it does a powerful dose of medicine for the body and mind. Observing just a day annually for laughter is not enough. If laughter is practised throughout life, everything will become hale and hearty. Laughter is not necessarily always a happy and positive affair. It also runs the risk of being branded as mad and scornful. "Live laughing, don't live being laughed at," so goes a song in an MGR-starrer. If someone laughs in their sleeves when I happen to be buffeted by some misfortune or bad luck, that laughter has a dose of venom in it, a touch of sadism. When your audience laughs at your jokes, though, there is an approbation that connotes happiness. That kind of laughter is the signature of a blissful mind. This sunny side of life, bubbling with mirth over the mundane and the monumental, was once part of my life, too. Personally, gone are those days, the days of boisterous laughter. I hardly find time to smile at anything life has to offer me these days, let alone burst into laughter. Once in a while, I throw my mind back to experience once again the memories of days when I threw my head back in spontaneous fun. Of a pleasant Sunday evening, I was stretching my legs out on the beach, enjoying a cool breeze. My gaze shifted from the sky to the waves and to young couples frolicking in the water, vendors selling their wares and a fortune-teller holding the hand of a woman and prophesying her future. But when I saw three college girls playing on the sands, my eyes became fixed on them. It felt as though yesterday had shed its black robes and donned today's white and shiny robes. The spritely sweet girls brought back to my mind my school days, full of fun and frolic. We were the three notorious musketeers, so to speak. My mind was cherishing all funny moments of those memorable days. What a care-free life it was. We hardly worried about anything - not even our studies, to be very frank. We enjoyed pleasure out of pleasure and pain as well. Come what may, our only reaction to any situation, howsoever dire, was to laugh and laugh and laugh. Be it scoring low grades, flopping in exams, facing punishment, or any other problem, the three of us would laugh away the odds and just move on, not giving a damn about anything. Once, we had planned to watch a Hindi film. None of us could understand a bit of the language, but we took pride in watching non-native films. Unlike nowadays, going to theatres with friends was not encouraged by parents then. Naturally, we, the three "partners in crime", devised a plot. We told our parents that one of the relatives of the other two was conducting a special orientation class that would be very useful for us to attend. The moment I said this to my father, he generously replied, "I can take you all to the session." He asked me to share the location. I was shocked and fell silent over the unexpected question. Address? Address? Address? I was looking around, head low, as if casting about for something, till father asked me once again. I blubbered a bit before it struck me to say: "My friend say she'd give it to me tomorrow." Similar scenes took place at the other two friends' homes. (To be continued)

Share |