Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For everything else, there's MasterCard

I have found little reason to laugh in the past two years, nothing really amuses me. But then I have always been a little on the serious side. Shekhar lightened me...with him around, the house was full of laughter. His humour was gentle, witty and sometimes just plain silly but it was always funny. Even at the time that he passed, our older son thought Shekhar was playing the fool until the truth hit him. How does one laugh again after what has happened? Where is the humour? The laughter? What is funny? Then just like that one day you find...

I stood at the front door, car keys in hand; ready to leave the house on time so that our younger son could get to his cricket practice. I called out to him impatiently then stomped through the house looking for him. My irritation increased when my mobile rang just then. It was him. "Mom," he said, "Could you please open your bedroom, you've locked me in." A bubble rose through my chest and became full blown laughter as I let him out. This was the first time I found something worth a laugh in the time since Shekhar.

It hasn't got easier but the bubble has risen a couple more times since. The time when the Bhaiji at the Gurudwara misread my prayer where I had said 'adchana door karniyan' as in 'remove obstacles' and he said instead 'Bibi Archana di ardas...' as in 'Archana's prayer is...' The irony that my fervent prayers were being said in someone else's name was not lost on me.

Yesterday, after two months of fretting with our maid who just didn't get our timetable for meals, I finally lost my cool. Pointing to the clock time and again I tried to make her understand how important it was to make sure that she served our meals on time. The poor thing looked at me and nodded...then lunch was served at 4 p.m. I stood raving and ranting for a full fifteen minutes before it struck me and I asked, "Do you know how to tell the time?" and she replied, "Nobody taught me..." I felt really ashamed, then I couldn't stop laughing at the situation and myself. I had presumed that knowing how to tell the time was a universal skill. Who would have thought...

A psychologist performed an experiment where he asked one set of subjects to tap out a tune with their fingertips on a table while the other set tried to guess what the tune was. Turns out that it was virtually impossible. The explanation - the person who tapped heard the whole orchestral music in his head but the other subject only heard rhythmic tapping...

I realize that my maid just heard my tapping and I presumed that she heard my orchestra... a metaphor for my grief and a life lesson. That I could laugh about it...priceless.


There is no laughter in the natural world
Of beast or fish or bird, though no sad doubt
Of their futurity to them unfurled
Has dared to check the mirth-compelling shout.
The lion roars his solemn thunder out
To the sleeping woods. The eagle screams her cry.
Even the lark must strain a serious throat
To hurl his blest defiance at the sky.
Fear, anger, jealousy, have found a voice.
Love's pain or rapture the brute bosoms swell.
Nature has symbols for her nobler joys,
Her nobler sorrows. Who dared foretell
That only man, by some sad mockery,
Should learn to laugh who learns that he must die?

Laughter And Death by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922/ England)