When the creator set about designing an upgraded version of living beings, the humans, it incorporated many new features, including the ability to smile and laugh (Though God is probably repenting the genesis of homo sapiens considering the havoc being wreaked on planet earth by them). The boon of smile was given as a compensation for the absence of the tail- we can’t express happiness in the manner of a canine.
Smiles open lot of doors- whether at home, at leisure or at work. Monalisa’s smile continues to be monetized while Madhuri Dixit’s smile retains its magnetism. We Indians generally tend to smile a lot except to total strangers- otherwise also city dwellers in India come across so many people during their daily commute that smiling to everyone could cause cramps in the muscles of facial expression.
But there are persons whose smile is as rare as the sighting of a comet. While this is understandable for those who are depressed or have type A personality, there are others who behave as if there was a tax on smiling. Mostly these gloom superspreaders are in the positions of authority and are justifiably nicknamed as sadu or sadial. However, recently, an officer in the state electricity board, gave me a unique perspective. I was trying to convince him to get rid of his crevasse like frown lines.
‘Thanks for your advice doctor. I want to maintain the status quo. The combination of a permanent frown and an unsmiling face makes me effective for taming the large number of employees working under me!’ he explained.
The sarcastic smile is in a class of its own. Such a smile by my boss while on the ward rounds during my surgical training induced palpitations as it was often followed by carefully designed caustic comments which often left me depressed for days. However, the commonest type of smile nowadays is the fake smile. In a social gathering we often grin when we meet a person for whom we have homicidal thoughts.
Laughter happens when our joy crosses a threshold, usually due to a joke or a witty comment and we often end up showing that a visit to the dentist is due. The most peculiar laughter I remember is of an aunt who took short pauses between bursts of laughter- the effect was like the sound of the engine of a four-stroke motorcycle.
The ability to appreciate and generate humour is because of our super-talented brain. Cats don’t make April fool out of each-other and grey rats don’t pass sarcastic comments on albino rats. Regular dose of humour is a natural tonic. Nerds have shown that it reduces levels of stress hormones and enhances immunity. Also, it is easily available, plentiful and mostly costs less than a burger. Humour and comedy are everywhere- in social media, books, articles, television & OTT shows, movies and as stand-up comedy. Take your pick. And do catch up with me every Saturday for getting your funny bone tickled.
Laughter is the best medicine- Yet no doctor writes ‘laughter once a day’ in prescriptions!
Jas Kohli is a cosmetic surgeon by profession and humour writer by passion. His published work includes three bestselling humour novels- ‘Anything to Look Hot’, ‘Lights! Scalpel! Romance!’ and ‘Lights! Wedding! Ludhiana!’.