In every school class, there’s exists one kid who is always caught by the teacher for either talking loudly or laughing too much. Most of the time, the sarcastic comment that follows from the teacher is, “What’s the joke? Why don’t you share it with all of us here so that we can all laugh with you.”. The next step is usually to reach out for the diary to write a complaint. In my circle of friends, that kid happens to be me. Fortunately, I was saved from an overdose of complaints by my good academic track records. However, that didn’t spare me from Ma’s wrath when she kept hearing about the same talkative nature and laughing syndrome repeatedly at every parents-teachers meeting.
Baba, of course, was empathetic. My mother was a soft-spoken lady and it was the era when girls were expected to limit their laughter to a smile only. But my dearest father possessed one of the loudest voices in our family (also, he proudly attributes it to be a virtue befitting a Professor). So, for the two of us, there was hardly any occasion when we didn’t display our happiness or power of the vocal cord by going ha, ha or lol as the millennials call it now.
Though I drew criticism from certain people, my kind of laughter stayed hale and hearty in a way that my intestines hurt. People remembered me for that special kind of laugh. Once in B-school, the juniors were asked to describe one senior in just a single line during the fresher’ party in the girls’ hostel. To them, I was “the one who synonymous with the word laughter.”
At my in-laws, the decibel is usually on the lower side except on those days when the husband fails to find his belongings. This has started happening frequently because the kid considers his right to add any item of his father to his own collection. The boys’ treasured possession includes his father’s clothes, pens, stethoscope, and prescription pad among many others. Otherwise, the family is more reserved in their approach towards displaying emotions. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when my mother-in-law had once casually remarked that it was my laughter without giving a damn that made her love me all the more.
The first time that I lost my ability to laugh or find humor in anything was when Ma passed away. But with time, laughter made a comeback in my life. The best phase of such happiness started with the giggles of my newborn. The chuckles of a child have immense power to heal a hurting soul. Tuneer taught me to find happiness through weird sounds of laughter yet again.
This phase continued until the deadly stage of school admissions arrived. Suddenly I became this monster Mom whose only focus was to get the boy into a good school (the definition of good is quite layered here). And I am going to be brutally honest in admitting that until the first interview happened, I failed to find any humor or reason to smile in such a war-like scenario.
But God never fails to show Her sense of humor in the unlikeliest of situations. The first interview that we attended was in the same school which believed in interacting in English only. Tuneer was asked twenty questions (yes, 20!) in English and he managed to answer every question except his mother’s name (his way of seeking vengeance, I guess). The school interviewed thousand plus students for over two months and when the results came out, Tuneer’s name was missing from the first list. It was the first school to declare results and all my efforts seemed to have gone in vain. So, despite assurance from friends and family including the Principal of his preschool about him making it to the second list (which he actually did!), I was crestfallen.
I think that was the point when I realized that I was done with this extra layer of seriousness in my life. Since we had already faced rejection, it could only get better from there. I learned to take it easy and let Tuneer relax as well (until then, his father and grandparents had acted as barriers for me to give him any stress). But after that day, whenever there was an instance of us not meeting the set expectations from an interview, we learned to laugh about it instead of losing sleep over it. Strangely, a change in perception actually helped us sail through the rest of the interviews and it has been an uphill journey ever since.
But the biggest surprise in this journey has been the change in the characteristics of our son. Now the boy has understood very clearly that his escape route from getting reprimanded is only by making me laugh. So whenever he is caught doing mischief and realizes that a scolding is coming his way, he starts making funny faces or says completely irrelevant things. And he doesn’t stop until I start cracking up. So I break into laughter despite my brain telling me to rightfully get angry. In the war between logical and senseless reactions, humor wins.
However, Sr. T, who knows me a little too well keeps feels that the boy’s antics are going to work only till the beginning of his school session. That’s when the father is expecting the mother to go back to her monster mode, although with a dollop of comedy now.
Hope you had a good laugh while reading my post for the day. I will be back with a new post on ‘M’ tomorrow. You can find my previous posts in this series here.