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Laugh And Be Happy

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    I definitely welcome more snippets from you even though I can't speak for other ILites. Your snippets feel like the gentle breeze that we experience when we step out from home. I am always excited to read the topics you decide to discuss here.

    I remember everyone commenting about a CEO who always laughs so many times during any business call and most came to the conclusion that it is not professional to laugh so much in a serious business discussion. Frankly, I believe the sense of humor and laughter brings down the stress of business discussions. There is nothing wrong in laughing as long as it is not in response to an attack on others.

    I have seen many including in my family telling that women should control their laughter. I don't understand the logic why people define how a woman should laugh when compared to a man. Maybe it is part of the discipline taught for generations about a) how to sit, b) how to dress and how to keep an eye and adjust the dress, c) how much distance to maintain from men, d) how to speak, e) how to eat and f) how to laugh. I am unable to understand whether all of them are part of the same dictum that women need to protect and defend themselves from unnecessary advances by behaving a certain way.

    I teach the children every week and I tell them to be happy and laugh as much as they could to keep out of stress. We need to drop excessive sentiments to get hurt quickly. It takes a lot of effort to be angry and hurt than happy and laughing.
     
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  3. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    There is a myuthologial story that Shiva got ready to do battle with three demon brothers who moved around in three flying cities but when he got on the chariot its axle broke and everyone thought it was bad omen. Shiva just laughed, laughed the three asura out of existence. It illustrates the power of laughter. Laughter can tirm giants into dwarfs, That is why those in power are more suspicious of being laughed at than of being criticized. They are always suspicious that your laughter ha s a reason , reason of reducing them to nothing As Gunter grass says in one of his poems:
    Wer lacht her? Hat gelacht?
    Hier hat sich es ausgelacht.
    Wer hier lacht macht Vertdacht,
    Das er aus Grunden lachrt.

    The description of Your mom reminds me of Lalita Pawar's character in the old Shammi Kapoor movie Junglee who saw laughter as frivolousness. Too bad nothing can be truly liberating as genuine laughter coming out of happiness. Laughing, as Nietsche described is a science. A science that can be therapautic.
     
  4. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    It is indeed ironical that we need laughter clubs but natural laughter is not acceptable. :-D
     
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  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Mom probably thought I need to be taught to "act like a lady". She thought I was too much of a tomboy. I never heard or saw her get after my sis so much. And this used to be restricted to times when our "traditional" relatives from the South visited (she even sought to edit what I spoke at such times!!! :-D) or when "periva" (whatever she meant by that) visited. She probably feared her upbringing of me would be criticized. Other than that she was pretty cool!!! "What impression do you make" syndrome, see? To tell you the truth, if something was really funny, it was a sight to see her laugh .... uncontrollably .... setting us laughing looking at her laugh!!! :-D

    I remember my parents tell me not to laugh so much so late in the evening or I would go to bed crying. And every time I cried, I would get fever and dad would tell me to stop crying - he feared I would get fever. And if I was grumpy, that too was not acceptable. Everyone would term me "idli face"! Oh the travails of childhood!
     

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