It was a while ago. After a long time I found many of my school friends (classmates actually) and we now have a WhatsApp group. Today one of them sent a photo which struck me as particularly bad - I could not understand why anybody would post this. All the others were LOLing and I could not figure out what they found so funny about it. I looked at it for the 7th time and it dawned! And there I was LOLing and admitting that I finally understood the joke, to which the friend who posted it sent a few facepalm emojis. It was funny. I found it quite funny, but a thought crossed my mind. Was I being 'undignified' in laughing at myself? Would some of the classmates on the group - the smart lots of the set - think so? Then I thought, 'what does it matter'? Some memories of conversations with my mom came up. She was an extremely dignified lady who carried herself well at all times. She had had a very strict upbringing at home - the kind of upbringing women of her generation had. She'd frequently lecture me on 'dignity' - sometimes for the most innocuous acts like laughing loudly, talking loudly ..... oh well, for just being myself. "What impression are you making on others" she'd say. For a long while - almost 3 decades - that was sufficient to shut me up and then I'd spend my time worrying about what people thought of me. At some point, I thought enough was enough. No one gave a damn what I thought about them, so why should I be bothered about what they thought of me ..... if ever they did!!! So after that, her question was always met with that response. Or I'd say "They laugh at me. They don't cry, na? So be happy I make someone laugh and not cry". As you can imagine, it was no mean feat to learn to laugh at myself. Somewhere along the way, I had really started admiring those who can laugh at themselves, which is why I adore British comedy. Their self-deprecating humour is truly unique. Sadly enough the cause of a lot of our problems is that we don't seem to have a funny bone anymore. We seem to have lost it like our tails during the last few decades. We can laugh at others, but we can't laugh at ourselves and woe betide anyone who tries to laugh at us. No wonder we have so many beheadings and court cases. Why? Someone laughed at us. Someone laughed at something that is sacrosanct to us ..... ourselves or our Gods. Are we and our Gods really so frail that we'd collapse if someone had a laugh at our expense? Are our Gods really so weak that we need to defend and protect them? Food for thought. If we could just do that much - I mean every human being, not just any particular group(s) of people - the world would be a much happier place to be in. If the jokes are offensive, would it be possible to ignore them? To look at the issue from the other side, it is also important to learn to indulge in harmless, inoffensive humor which reminds me of the plays of P.L. Deshpande. Really miss that kind of clean humour these days. My apologies for suddenly raining on this forum with two snippets in one day. That makes it 4 posts in 2 weeks!!! Making up for lost time.