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How much will you charge to laugh?

My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those who are always dead serious.

health and fitness Updated: Oct 02, 2011 01:16 IST
Sonal Kalra

I give you three seconds to recall the last time you laughed out loud. One…two…three, done. All those who remembered the last LOL they’d casually typed while chatting on Facebook can take turns to slap each other. And the others, who at least tried to recall their real laughter but could not, listen to me. Kya, problem kya hai? Do people, who have to bear you every day of their lives, not deserve to sometimes see the twinkle in your eyes or the teeth that you claim to religiously brush every morning? Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai? Then what is the matter, people? Yesterday I observed this man at a friend’s get-together. He was there to attend a party, but his face bore an expression as if the host had put a gun to his head and dragged him there. Someone told a joke, everyone laughed, even those who had heard it before. But this one’s expression got worse. Not wanting to be judgmental about some constipated poor soul who may have indeed had a hard day, I asked my friend if that guy was unwell or needed help. “Oh no, Harsh is like that only. He’s the serious, brooding kinds. He always says this hansi mazaak is juvenile and trivial." My friend went on and on describing the behaviour but my mind’s record got stuck at the first sentence itself. His name was Harsh? Isn’t that supposed to mean joy? Or maybe his folks spelt his name as the English word harsh as that’s what he was being, on himself.

Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
If you are reading this, Harsh, please know that I’m not trying to criticise you. In fact contrary to what your friends told me, I genuinely believe that there may have been valid reasons or worries that forced you to adopt a serious attitude in life. But I’m not sure if you’re doing yourself a favour by dismissing the power of laughter in life as a triviality. I have a problem with those who try hard to suppress this very basic trait, and in fact a unique gift to human beings, by analysing and judging the source of humour. Some of us have become so intelligent that most causes of laughter seem silly or stupid to us. Movies seem full of slapstick, comedy shows are dismissed as being vulgar (some of them actually are) we basically start thinking its beneath us to laugh at most things. Isme hasne ki kya baat hai, is a reply we give to most of the things that make an attempt to tickle our funny bone. What we forget is that in the search of that so-called evolved humour, we are becoming used to being serious all the time.

As I’d written in one of the previous columns, if someone tells a joke, some people get too busy in either trying to beat him to the punchline, or saying I’ve heard it before, or, if at all, do the teller a favour by forcing a twitch of the lips that vaguely resembles a smile. Internet, God bless, has made things worse. Now abbreviations like lol which is supposed to indicate that one is laughing out loud, is thrown away super casually, even though you may be slapping your child with the other hand or cursing your maid while you type it. Henceforth, friends of Harsh, try and adopt these three rules in your life. It may just change your life.

1. Set up a laughter library of your own: Everyone has a different benchmark, trigger and level of humour. You know your own, and try collecting things DVDs, jokes, books, cartoon clippings, that could be your very own laugh-lib. Feeling low? Just dig into your laugh-lib and it may just take you away from your worries for a while.

2. Set some kind of a code-reminder for yourself. Something that’ll remind you to check for how long have you, even unknowingly, sported a frown on your forehead. It could be a ring that you wear, or something on the office wall in front of your desk. Promise yourself that each time you happen to look at it, you’ll take a deep breath, remember something funny and smile. Yeah, your colleagues may call for a psychiatrist thinking you’ve lost it, but deal with it. They don’t know you are adding years to your life.

3. Finally, don’t ever be judgmental about someone else’s sense of humour. Don’t go into an overdrive to tell your loved ones they shouldn’t have laughed at something that you thought was silly. Don’t give angry glares to your boyfriend if he’s chuckling loud like a child while watching a movie, that laughter is way more valuable than your uptight attitude about whether it was funny or whether its causing you embarrassment in the movie hall. And laugh your own guts out, people who turn to look at you are not thinking you are foolish, they are actually jealous because they are still looking for good enough reasons to laugh. You are lucky you found yours. Sonal Kalra has read somewhere that laughing five times a day makes you lose weight. It’s not a joke. She’s very, very serious. Mail your calmness tricks at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/sonalkalra13 Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/sonalkalra.

The Tension-Not calmness trophy this week goes to The girlie gang of Prabhleen Chopra, Gauri Gupta and Ashu Gupta, for bringing their ever so lovable charm to this column’s Facebook page; and to Jatin Jamwal for possessing what is perhaps the largest collection of funny jokes and one-liners and sharing it with everyone to spread the joy around. Loads of calmness your way.