Learning to laugh

Learning to laugh

Laughter Club


"If music is considered the language of gods, laughter should be considered as the language of man", said my friend, known as the Plato of our locality. "All the riches of the  world are sheer waste if there is no laughter in one's life." To drive home his point, he began letting forth many quotes stored in his computer-brain - "A laughter a day keepth the doctor away."

Having said this, he looked at me expectantly. Perhaps my face was expressionless, for  he tried another - "A merry heart doth good like tonic." I smiled. Encouraged, he tried another, this time from no less a person than Byron, the great  poet! "Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine!" I  laughed, realising that Byron wanted me to laugh.

"Yes, Byron will be pleased," he affirmed. "He may come in your dreams today, and  inspire you to pen a wonderful poem on laughter. Nobody has written poems on that  subject... begin like this, ‘ Oh Laughter, thou has the power to make even the ugly beautiful, erase lines of age to appearance youthful, dispel fright by melting stress in  streets, and pollution of personalities at home and hearth..."

I gazed at him spell-bound; If laughter could make this down-to-earth man a poet, why,  I can become a Shakespeare with my innate gift! So I decided to join the laughter-club the next day itself. It was just around the corner, with all the old men of the area publicising   it by their regular running-race in front of our flats, heralding their arrival with various types of laughter, branded as Chinese, Japanese, Mongolese, Australian, American, etc.   Mine should be typically Indian, I decided. "I should speak through my laughter."  

Yes, but the problem was, I had to be there early morning, and early morning was my   inspiration-time for writing. He sighed at his inability to change me, then hit upon another brilliant idea all of a sudden. "How about enrolling your wife to the noon-club that's just a stone's throw away?" he  needled. "Look at her, is she the same girl you married, that same sprightly girl?"                                                             

"My mother, she is the dominating sort," I said. Forthwith, I poured out what all I had  observed. "Personality  pollution," he observed and convinced me to enroll her in that club. Was that, that easy?

 "My, my, crying and laughing comes from birth. It is everyone's birth-right! As such,  should one go to a club to learn? That too from a strange man? Never heard of such  rubbish! In our days, we all used to laugh, cry, fight all the time, but nowadays nobody   seems to have the time to even ask a single welfare question! Only the television and  mobile do all the talking," Major Domo of our home protested as expected, but had to  give in when I stood my ground. It was good that I did, for just a few days of attendance brought back the old glow to my dear wife's cheeks, sparkle to her eyes and more  importantly, the former sparkling laughter.

 "She is always laughing, I don't like it," the stiff-faced mother-in-law complained, and  chided her. Daughter-in-law didn't flinch as before but laughed all the more, and loudly too. This infuriated mama as never before!      

Did it end there? The daughter-in-law began asserting herself gently. My friend was  right, her subjugated personality had resurfaced. Sure I liked  it, but not the mother-in-law. "I think they are conducting some sort of witch-craft over there!" she declared.

"They  have transformed my gentle daughter-in-law into a demon."

"Stuff and nonsense! Why don't you go and see for yourself?" I challenged. That was my undoing. Deciding to give the wizard of the club a piece of her mind, the lady sallied forth.   Left like Mahaali, returned as Mahalakshmi!

Lo! My stern-faced mother also laughs now. Both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law laugh, laugh and  laugh, as though practising for a competition, and  hurry to the club, leaving me alone to attend to the doorbell, telephone-calls, maid-servant and of course, the children when they return from school. Excuse me, did I hear you  laugh?

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