Do count on this

Do count on this

Is humour on the wane? Is the 'spice of life' losing its piquancy and sheen? The answer is an emphatic 'No!' For humour and wit - those two vital essentials of life - will never become obsolete. As evidenced below, we fall back on them as inevitably as we need food and water to survive.

Due to appear for a job interview in a multinational company, a youngster I know sought the advice of an experienced elder who told him about all the pitfalls to be avoided, concluding with, "And don't ever try to blow your own trumpet, unless you're Louis Armstrong  or his clone!"

Watching a horror movie in a theatre, someone nearby broke wind discreetly but eerily, startling the old lady seated with her husband ahead of me. "Nothing to be rattled about," her spouse whispered audibly, trying to calm her. "Someone's just doing his bit to improve the sound effects of the movie!"

Pointing to a newly installed ceiling fan whirling noiselessly in his office, a lawyer friend quipped the other day, "Tried and acquitted of disturbing the peace!"

Perhaps nothing illustrates the futility of demonetisation in India better than this yarn spun by an imaginative wit. "To hunt for crocodiles," he says, "the water was drained from the pond. No crocodiles were found because they can live on land too. But all the small fish died..."

Once, I organised a reunion of ex-planters in Munnar that saw some 60-odd veterans and their spouses spend a rollicking weekend in a local club. Speaking on the occasion, a silver-maned septuagenarian singled me out for commendation. "Given George's thoroughness and professionalism, I'm sure he's left nothing to chance," he intoned sombrely, "and even has a few caskets handy just in case some of the old-timers here conk out!"

Speaking of planters, a retiring veteran (known for his wit) once declared exuberantly at his club farewell, "Some of the happiest years of my life were spent in the arms of another man's wife!" Then, relishing his listeners' collective shock, he clarified, "She was my mother!"

My Scottish boss once told me of a bar in Glasgow that had this signboard prominently displayed over the counter: "If you are drinking to forget, do pay in advance."

Incidentally, when I was in my 20s, time and again I inevitably found myself on the 'Most Wanted' list of persons. In case this statement raises any eyebrows, rest assured that I was 'wanted' not by the custodians of the law, but by the anxious mothers of nubile girls!

For sheer witty ambiguity, there's perhaps nothing to beat a chemist's signboard that reads: 'We dispense with accuracy', or this tart remark: 'If your wife wants to learn to drive, don't stand in her way!'

And, thanks to his enormous girth, Sir Colin Campbell - the late chairman of the British tea conglomerate I worked for - was most aptly nicknamed 'Sir Cumference' by his close pals!

Levity is indeed the soul of wit.

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