Hearty ha ha!

Hearty ha ha!

Hearty ha ha!
Noted educationist, the late H Narasimhaiah, was often derisively referred to as Huch (mad) Narasimhaiah due to his many eccentricities. One day, when HN, as he was popularly known, was standing near National College, which he headed, a person walked up to him and asked mockingly, “Sir, why does everybody call you Huch Narasimhaiah?” Without batting an eyelid, in his characteristic style, HN responded, “Yen maadodhu, eega huch hechaagide” (What to do, the madness has increased now). As the man turned red and beat a hasty retreat, HN let out a hearty laugh.

At the man in the mirror
Most people seldom laugh, and when they do, it is often at the travails of others. But that seems to be slowly changing, with many learning to laugh at themselves. When under extreme pressure, the trend now is to grin and bear it, because worrying only aggravates the problem.

When a friend who returned from a master health check-up was asked about the results, he joked, “Oh, the doctor said I was carrying the Pandavapura sugar factory with me.” It took a moment to realise that he was diagnosed to be highly diabetic.

At a job interview, a dark complexioned young man introduced himself as Pradeep Kumar, IAS. A bit perplexed, the interviewer asked him why an Indian Administrative Service officer wanted to join a private firm. With a wide grin the candidate replied, “By IAS I did not mean Indian Administrative Service, but ‘Invisible After Sunset’. I am so dark that people cannot see me after the sun goes down.”

In a country that is hassled over even a slightly darker shade, Pradeep had decided to take his skin tone in his stride by making light of it. Ironically, humour has its genesis in stress. Bogged by personal and professional pressure, many are turning to spirituality and meditation for solace. With spiritual evolution, more and more people have begun to accept their current reality rather than get immersed in negativity. Spiritual leaders too are resorting to humour in good measure, and a daily dose of laughter, even under the most adverse condition, is seen as the gateway to everlasting happiness.

Today, doctors recognise humour as a tool of healing. Corporate gurus recommend humour to build congeniality at the workplace. Judges and lawyers resort to humour to cool frayed tempers in court rooms. In every walk of life, humour has emerged as a quick-fix solution for stress. The mantra is to lighten up.

Long ago, The Daily Mirror published a photograph of three judges who had delivered a judgment that went against public sentiment, with a caption in bold, ‘OLD FOOLS’. When the senior-most judge of the three, Lord Templeman, was asked why no contempt proceedings were initiated against the editor, he replied without any rancour, “Old I am, and a fool I may be in his view. So, where is the contempt?”

Bringing on metaphor
When J H Patel was the chief minister, he faced intense dissidence and the government was on the brink of collapse with a few legislators and ministers submitting their resignation. Instead of cracking under pressure, Patel resorted to humour. “Political plague has broken out and some rats have died. There is nothing to worry. You have always questioned me about my jumbo-sized ministry. Now it is getting pruned automatically,” he told journalists. Though Patel’s government was teetering from day one, it could last its full term mainly due to his ability to remain humorous even under pressure.

On the domestic front too, couples have begun to rely on humour to diffuse tension. Once, a husband who was known to constantly humiliate his wife, pointed to buffaloes wallowing in slush and said, “Your relatives.” Without losing her cool, the wife replied, “Yes, my in-laws.” The husband’s face shrank and from then on he watched his words.

Counsellors say most marriages fall apart because the husband and wife confront each other over trivial issues instead of laughing them off. With an increasing realisation of the impermanence of life, people have now come to accept that the best way to deal with pressure is to ‘let go’ and make a joke out of tense situations. After all, life is measured by the instants of happiness that we enjoy, and not by the tense moments that we suffer.

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