Saturday, 5 May 2012

Laughter - The Best Medicine

Man is the only creature on this planet to be able to laugh. Well chimps and hyenas do come close to expressing this emotion, but they either look weird or scary when they do. 

On the eve of World laughter day, I thought it is justified to pen some of my thoughts about laughter. 

Each and every one of us strives to live a happy life and yet we forget the one main ingredient that makes up a big portion of the definition of a happy life - Laughter. This is one human emotion that truly makes one believe that God created us in His own image. We can laugh at something happening in real time, we can laugh about something that has happened in the past and many a times we can laugh thinking about the future too. It is that investment that yields the maximum returns and that asset which is no good if deposited in the safe rooms of your mind. It performs best when shared with others and it only grows. 

I had come across this gem of a prose originally written in my mother tongue Kannada of which I can only vaguely remember bits and pieces.  This is my version of it. 

A baby laughs a laughter of innocence;
A mother laughs a laughter of joy;

A father laughs a laughter of pride;

A clown laughs the laughter of pain;

A lover laughs the laughter of mischief.

In today's mechanical life, I genuinely feel that as a race, we are slowly losing our natural ability to easily laugh. We spend hundreds to go sit in a dark room with a stage where professional stand up comedians come and crack jokes aimed at celebrities and politicians. Some 'comedians' eke out a living ridiculing races. Racist jokes are one of the most popular and frankly speaking we all get a mega kick out of listening to such inane commentaries. Satire and ridicule are the only 2 ways that the modern day human race seems to be capable of enjoying a hearty laughter at. Well, it is simply painful and we are not genuinely happy! we are all just exercising our stomach muscles at a momentary impulse our brain receives. 

Just like those precious verses, we need to be able to open up our hearts and minds to the more subtle & succinct entities in life. It is a great deal to be able to laugh along side a giggling child or enjoy a guffaw or two with your old folks. 

I am a grand fan of comedy and I leave no stone unturned to find an opportunity to laugh. I am an unabashed fan of Scott Adams, Hank Ketcham & the simply awesome Bill Watterson, if you might be wondering, these creative geniuses are the creators of 3 of my all time favorite comic strips - Dilbert, Dennis the Menace & Calvin and Hobbes. 

My dad will vouch for me on this. I always read the newspaper back to front - magazine sheet to the main paper. Intellectuals may derive whatever they want about my nature from this habit of mine, but I believe a day started with a smile is as good as a day gone well. No matter how old I may get, but It always helps to keep the child within alive. These small strips of graphic illustrations of a science genius and boys who get into all sorts of trouble are the greatest source of laughter for me. 

I also love Chetan Bhagat for his simplicity and his exemplary sense of humor that he seems to find in the seemingly dull and mundane. Fox Entertainment's greatest contribution to the entertainment industry is their long running mega successful series of a dysfunctional family in the nuclear suburbia of Springfield - The Simpsons. My favorite actors are not the ones that make me contemplate and screw my head over difficult facts, they are the ones who make me laugh till I cry. It is small surprise that even the most hardcore of action heroes always make it a point to act in a light hearted entertainer that most families can come together and have a good laugh. I do not recall, one modern day actor that has avoided this genre. 

Today, we are all stuck in a vice like grip of stress, where one end is fixed and on the other is a screw slowly tightening on us. Lifestyle related diseases are the greatest killers and billions are being spent on new medicines, while we all continue living the same way. Laughter, genuine laughter is supposedly the best medicine for all of life's hardest problems. We must all be looking for reasons to be happy about no matter how suffocated one might feel on a bad day. I know it is easier said than done, but hey! we are an evolving species and who knows, one day we all might find a way to be perennially happy. 

Scientifically speaking, laughter generates "endorphins" in the brains that are the natural feel good elements within our body and promotes a feeling of well being and is said to even temporarily provided relief from pain. 

I think I myself have had enough of my preaching and I leave you with this hilarious video montage of some awesome clips, after watching which, I am sure you will not stop laughing. 


A Day without laughter is a day wasted

- Charlie Chaplin. 

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