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Friday, July 2, 2010


Laughing has never been this better… starts as a mild tremor in the body, spreads slowly till it starts shaking it convulsively and then often ends with the volcanic eruption of loud laughter rocking the whole frame.

I am silly if silliness means laughing at the most incongruous of reasons….I am stupid if stupidity means asking the simplest of questions just because I want to know the answer or because I am curious, I am immature if immaturity is letting go of myself or behaving like a kid because I am just like that…..

Some things in life you can’t enjoy by doing…you enjoy simply by being.

I don’t know why….I find humour in the simplest of things….a flashing expression or even a seemingly innocent phrase or funny incident makes me go into splits; often hysterics and I remember them at the most inappropriate moments so I have a hard time suppressing my laughter and protecting my image of sanity.

I have to repress smiles all the time because I know if I give full vent to my rather unusual sense of humour in public, then I am really a goner. People will think I have flipped the lid.

My recent trip to Delhi had me burning a lot of calories because I was laughing like crazy. Not all the time. I had my low moments (come on, I am also human). But the light moments, my good acquaintances and the new learning experiences made up for all the tears I shed, I guess.

Like I am curiously absent-minded. I don’t know whether this happens with others or I am just making a big deal out of nothing but there were these soup spoons placed alongside soup-bowls and plates. Our cutlery was already at the table. And when I had served my food on the plate, I picked up the big round headed spoon and marched to my table. Only when I got there, I noticed and I would have forgotten about it but the next day I did the same thing and even went a step further- I was actually eating with it. You know I found it so hilarious.

Another incident I still remember was what I call the “desert disaster.” I wanted to have desert during a high level luncheon and I went to the podium and was searching for it. But I just could not find it and I was having a tough time keeping a straight face when a particularly dignified looking figure in a uniform caught my eye and asked me- “You seem to be looking everywhere.”
I was blushing when I said wryly “I can’t exactly seem to be finding the desert,” because I did not have anything better to say and I could not summon up the presence of mind to make up a smart reason at the crux of the moment. I don’t know if the dignitary thought I was a simpleton but he was kind enough to guide me to the desert table. I collected my desert as fast as possible and was ready to flee to my table when someone asked me-“Running away?” I was in such a hurry to get away that I did not even look up to see who had passed the remark. I just fled the scene and I will never know who the Good Samaritan was. I mean it is very funny if you consider the situation I was in. A novice learning and you know, the little hiccups she faces which when she looks back she can laugh at in the future.

Another incident which I found particularly funny- I was watching television at the embassy with my friends when a dignitary and a colleague of mine entered the room. They went behind me and I was not facing them. I got up to go away when I heard a dead-pan voice saying-“You leaving?”

I thought it was the officer who was speaking to me. Without turning I just said “Yes sir, I am going. Good night.” Then when I suddenly turned back, you should have seen the look on my friend’s face. It was just precious. The Chesire cat grin with amused oriental eyes (if he reads this, he will crucify me). And I could not think of a better response than just keeping a poker face and quipping-“Oh, I thought it was you, sir. It turned out to be my friend.” Then I marched stiffly to the door, shut it and back at my own room I confided in my friend and we broke into endless stifled giggles because the guys were just next door.

Numerous incidents like these happened and I just sensed the humour of the situation. I laughed and laughed and I laughed. It made my sides ache. It gave me crow’s feet. But I don’t mind. I just want to throw back my head and let out all my mirth. Joie de vivre.

I want to feel the wind on my face. I want to watch children play. I want to sit alone somewhere, maybe under a tree and contemplate life or read a good book. I want to learn even if I appear foolish. I want to be free enough to be myself. I don’t want to pretend to be someone I am not.

But in some company and with some people you can’t always be yourself, even if you are a free spirit. Your level of comfort counts. And it is good to exercise decorum and discipline when situation demands it. It develops self restraint, gives you time to observe, interact and gives you broader understanding of life. But then if you are obsessed with rules and let it dictate personal image and perception, if you can’t think for yourself, if you don’t exercise a certain amount of detachment and independence, then you are having a problem. You are living but not as yourself. And you always know which rules bind you and which doesn’t. The right rules make you free enough to be happy.

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