Tag Archives: Sense of Humor

A Calmer You: who’s the joke really on?

Tired of being the butt of their jokes? Take pity on those who would have no laughter in life if YOU won’t oblige. Why Columbus would have never discovered America if he was married?’ asked a colleague the other day, reading an SMS joke he’d got. Before I could ask him how the sender was so sure of Columbus’s unmarried bliss, I saw him roll over with laughter while reading out the answers. “Because his wife would have said things like — Kab tak wapas aaoge?; main aur bachche bhi saath chalte hain; Ghar baithe baithe hi discover kar lo; agle hafte mere bhai ka birthday hai uske baad chale jaana; hamesha tum hi kyun karte ho — koi aur nahi kar sakta discover?”

A Calmer You who’s the joke really on
I soon saw him add a couple of points of his own to the joke and forward to yet another married friend. I too found it rather funny. And then the age old thought occurred to me that much like blondes in the West, how the funniest of jokes in our culture often target women. And Sardars. And lawyers. And mothers-in-law. And so on. And how I, like most of you, have grown up laughing away at such jokes in good humour and not thinking any further. But, the other day I got a mail from a regular reader, Vishakha Jain, who wrote “I have been driving a car — perfectly and way better than guys — for years now. So, when I get jokes and forwarded emails showing all women drivers as careless fools, it upsets me. Is it not stressful when you see horrible generalization in the name of humour?”
Well, Vishakha, to be honest I’ve never looked at it this way. Because I feel the whole point of a joke is that we don’t take it seriously. But now that you have raised this point, let me ask the readers of this column.
Does it secretly stress you out if you belong to a category that’s often the target of jokes? Does it stress you even more that you are ‘expected’ to take it all in good humour and laugh along each time? Here’s what I think about this, but I would surely wait to know what you all have to say.
1. Generalisation, according to me, is important to ensure that a joke remains just that. If it is specific, it could seem personally offensive to someone and that’s wh thene humour flies right out of the window. As it is, we are such a stiff and uptight society. We are ready to be offended at the drop of a hat. Half of us don’t even remember the last time we laughed our guts out. Even on the funniest of jokes, we take pride in curbing our laughter. I actually know a guy who wouldn’t let a smile escape his mouth, no matter what. Tell him a rib-tickling joke and you could notice, perhaps with a magnifying glass, just a slight twitch on the corner of his lips.
Because he thinks its un-manly to display emotions. And then there are those who specialise in killing someone else’s joke by interrupting and announcing ‘pehle suna hua hai’. So basically, a society where youngsters write LOL without even smiling most of the time, is anyway averse to actual laughter. Aise mein generalisation or not, at least keep the jokes coming as a saving grace.
2. Secondly, I personally feel those category of people on whom jokes are mostly cracked are way more evolved than others. Take wives, for instance. It’s only they who good-naturedly suffer jokes on them and their mothers. Can’t imagine husbands handling even half the pot-shots without there being raging ego battles. As for Sardars, even if the whole nation stands in salute forever in front of this hard working community, which not only gracefully allows us to crack jokes on them, but also laughs along, it won’t be enough. Those who can only laugh at the expense of others need to learn bigtime from their more mature counterparts.
3. And finally Vishakha, if you do indeed feel strongly offended by someone’s jokes, then perhaps you should express your displeasure. It’s a wrong feeling to live your life feeling you’re being steamrolled by others. But trust me, jokes are more often an expression of camaraderie than aggression. So, don’t be in a stress to turn the tables or prove a point needlessly. Men call women drivers careless only to hide the fact that they themselves are busy noticing them on the road. Chill. But hey, could you please still tell me why most women leave the handbrake on?.
Sonal Kalra is tired of hearing the same jokes. She’s willing to sponsor a community dedicatedly devoted to coming up with mean jokes on men. Any takers?

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A Calmer You: how to permanently kill your sense of humour

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Even a flicker of laughter is henceforth banned on this column. You have to pass a test before I let you read this week’s write-up. Get up and go in front of the mirror. Carefully look at the photo of the girl on this page and then at yourself in the mirror. Ensure that your facial expression is as pathetic, forlorn and sad, if not more. Khabardaar agar smile kiya toh! Through advanced augmented reality, I’ll get to know who is smiling, and my curse will ensure that your face bears a constipated look every single time you get photographed for the rest of your life. Those of you who haven’t got married yet, apni wedding albums ke bare mein soch lo. You can’t afford to take this risk, can you? Now with the serious face, try to understand my point this week. After leading an utterly useless life that involved baring my teeth and giggling away to glory at the slightest provocation, I have finally found a mission in life.

sense-of-humor

To attain, and help everyone around me attain a state of zero sense of humour. Because in the past few days, some people have helped me realise that laughter is the silliest of human emotions. That it is frivolous and wasteful to tickle the funny bone when you can utilise that time to indulge in critical and meaningful activities like getting offended and preaching morals. And haven’t you noticed, serious people are way cooler than us idiots who can’t contain their laughter and let out strange, gurgling sounds from the throat. Toh maine toh decide kar liya. No cracking jokes anymore. In any case, most people don’t get my twisted sense of humour. And it gets me into trouble more often than I care.

Last week I went to the neighbourhood park for a walk, and then sat on the bench to watch small kids play on the swings. A woman sitting next to me tried to strike a conversation and asked which of the children was mine. Intently gazing ahead with a devilish expression, I replied “I’m still trying to decide”. Before I could pat my back on my brilliant joke, the woman had rushed to collect her child and warn others about the demented kidnapper on the bench. Reputation barbaad in the colony, permanently. Hasna hi nahi ji mujhe ab…not at all.

And this came exactly a day after a police constable scolded me, when, on seeing a road-side sign that said ‘Yeh bus-stop aage chala gaya hai’, I scribbled underneath – ‘Usey jaane kisne diya?’ I got a long lecture about how padhe-likhe people should not indulge in mazaak. Anyway, his scolding was justified, but this thing of how I can be cool, mysterious and intellectual only if I’m serious in life has entered my head strongly now. So, for myself, and for all of you who need growing up, here are tips to become permanently serious.

1. Be a joke killer: Go to a temple and take the oath that you’ll never let a joke break your resolve of not laughing like mad people who have no control over their emotions. If someone says a joke, stare at them as if they’ve lost it. In fact, read up all the jokes on the net, so that if someone tries telling a joke, you can kill their punchline, or make that genius remark – ‘Suna hua hai. Puraana hai’. I’ve seen people do this to others’ jokes and although all this while I hated such spoilsports, now suddenly I have newfound respect for them. In fact, I demand a special reward for those brave people who take pride in saying ‘hamein toh hansi nahi aayi’ when someone tells a joke. They are the real assets because of who India continues to hold a serious position in the global scenario, otherwise the velapanti gang of non-serious people would have laughingly destroyed our image. Flippant fools, I tell you.

2. Take everything literally: Wipe off the concept of metaphors or clever phrases from your head. Be an expert at missing the point and start taking everything anyone says literally. You may be branded as an annoying ass but so what? It’s all for a good cause. Argue endlessly with people as if they mean everything they’ve said. Slowly people will start avoiding saying anything non serious in front of you. The shallow frivolities will be out and life will become meaningful.

3. Make a mental bank of sad thoughts: Since I’m trying it out these days, let me tell you that reaching the zero sense of humour stage is not as easy as it sounds. Your body will want to revolt, a smile will try hard to escape your mouth in certain situations. But you have to be strong. What really helps is having a bank of sad thoughts in your head. The moment something funny starts to happen around you, retrieve an image from the bank – it could be the first time you got thrashed by the school teacher, or the moment when your girlfriend made you spend all your pocket money in a single date, or the state of poverty in Africa, or the rising corruption in our country. Anything that’ll keep you from feeling happy at that moment.  I’ll personally congratulate you once you’ll reach that level of turning sad anytime you want to. What an achievement sir ji!

4. Act depressed: This is tough, but together we can manage it if we try really hard. Stop wearing bright colors, switch over to earthy, dull shades. Keep your eyes a bit droopy all the time, and your expression confused and fed up. When you say something, don’t let even a hint of enthusiasm enter your voice. If someone else tries to speak to you, say ‘hain?’ with an utterly irritated expression at least thrice. Make them feel as if they are THE burden on mother earth and should not take the risk of saying anything non-serious in front of you. Every once in a while, go on facebook and leave sad, preachy comments on all the so-called funny status updates. Do it on my timeline too. Oh, you already do so? Okay.

5. Make fraandship only with serious people: Stick to people who are unfunny since birth. I once found one such woman in a hospital. She said she was there to ‘donate’ her eyes, rather than ‘pledging’ her eyes for donation. So I asked her, with all genuineness, if she had someone to take her back home since she won’t be able to see. She shouted so rudely at me that for a moment I was also tempted to be equally rude and add that if she decides to donate her entire body, a hungry family of four in certain countries could survive just on her right thigh for a year, but stopped myself just in time to avoid being slapped. I have now decided to pursue her till she makes me her best friend. Together we’ll spend our lives, spreading the message of seriousness all around us. Amen.

Sonal Kalra declares that nothing will make her laugh anymore. The only exception is Chaddha ji doing Kapaalbhaati aasan in the balcony…lol.