Smile and laugh, please

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

As a society, are we too serious in life? It appears that Northeasterners smile less, laugh less, and appear more serious at work and during leisure. Everyone is so busy with their lives that there is no time to laugh. Even in government jobs or in MNCs/PSUs, anyone laughing is considered to be wasting time or displaying a casual attitude. At work, one is supposed to keep working with a grim face.
In many of our houses we rarely laugh or joke. When we meet at gatherings in villages or towns, we hardly joke or laugh. We are so serious that even husbands and wives do not walk together. The husband walks ahead, with the wife following behind by a few paces. Similarly, in offices also, we are too serious for any laughter or jokes. We are too serious in our towns, villages, families, offices and schools.
In our tribal society, there are too many kebangs/kebaa/mels going on. Kebangs are conducted for resolving property disputes, land disputes, marital disputes, petty crimes, violence, etc. It is estimated that there are hundreds of kebangs going on per day in our villages and towns. In many cases, even when the disputes are being tried in judicial courts, kebangs are held for the same. But despite so many kebangs/kebaa/mels, the peace index in the society seems to be going down.
The rare jokes are at the cost of another person, tribe or organization. We do not have the ability to laugh at ourselves (remember Sardarji jokes?). If anyone pulls a pun on us individually, or on our tribe or our political party or our organization, we take it too seriously, and are ready for another kebang! The reaction to many disputes are, typically, ‘Kaat dunga’ or ‘Maar dunga’!
Being too serious in life, stress levels are increasing, leading to lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Due to high stress levels, most of us are always short-tempered, irritable and argumentative. We are always in a rush, always overspeeding and overtaking; we want to arrive fast and jump the line. We are irritable and rude, and start the day shouting at each other.
As per many studies, laughter has many benefits. Laughter relaxes the body, boosts immunity, combats depression, relieves pain, and may help us live longer. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing and relieve pain. Considering the positive effects of laughter, many ‘laughter clubs’ are operating in many cities and towns. Shows like ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma’ are gaining popularity across the country.
Is being too serious in life making us rich or bringing about development overnight? At least being a little bindass and amusing can make our mundane lives easier to live and make us healthier, leading to a more peaceful and healthier society. Let’s start the day with a laughter pill in the morning! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)