CAN you remember the time when you were walking around with a smile on your face, a laugh in your belly, lightness in your heart, and a sense of exuberance at the sheer wonder of being alive? That was long ago. In this respect you are not alone. It is because we live in a heavy harsh world now. So much is happening weighing us down. Humour and fun are somehow missing elements in most people’s lives. We hold seminars and workshops to teach people how to laugh! We start laughing clubs because Norman Cousins in his masterly book ‘Anatomy of Illness’ discloses that he could cure cancer merely by laughing when the medical world was watching with anxiety. These developments indicate something very poignant and stoic about our society. It shows that we have lost our ability to laugh and enjoy life. Just look around and watch. Business is so serious. Play is so serious. Parenting is so serious. In fact, all of us move around with a serious long face for no reason. If you want to see some spontaneous laughter you have to watch children and ignore adults. We have lost the will to laugh; truly enjoy our living!

As G.K.Chesterton reminds us, “Angles fly because they take themselves lightly. Heaviness dims the light. Lightness enables us to fly.” Laughter needs to be part of our regular routine. At first the laughter may be artificial but soon it becomes ridiculous and later it becomes real roaring laughter. The Chinese philosopher Confucius said not to trust someone who laughs without his or her belly heaving.

– T.G.L. Iyer

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