Humour means taking delight in the mirthful and the ludicrous. People with a strong sense of humour are very popular and their presence in any gathering is highly welcomed. They add spice to otherwise stale parties attended by many out of a sense of duty or decorum.
They always put on a happy countenance and exude cheerfulness. They are capable of affecting others too with a sense of humour and cheerfulness. Many a time they function like an oasis of hope in the midst of desert of worldly woes and difficulties.
Life is neither good nor bad. It is what you make of it. If one has developed an attitude of always looking at the dark-side of life, he will always manage to find some drawback and shortcoming even in a happy situation. On the other hand, people with an even temperament and equipped with a sense of humour always find something consoling or even amusing in many not so happy situations.
Excellent examples of boisterous humour are found in Shakespeare's play "As You like It" where all the characters manage to reach Forest of Arden and have a great time inspite of all drawbacks and shortcomings of country life. Rosalind is deeply in love with Orlando, but manages to make fun of him when she sees him wounded by a tiger:
"O, my dear Orlando, how it
Grieves me to see thee wear thy heart in a scarf"
Orlando - It is my arm.
ROS I thought the heart had been wounded with the claws of a lion.
Oral - Wounded it is, but with the eyes of a lady
Rosalind's scintillating wit changes the complexion of things and personali-ties. She makes fun of Melancholy Jacques saying "You have reason to be sad. I fear you have sold your lands to other men; then to have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and poor hands".
Thus Rosalind punctures the vanity of Jacques and puts him in his place.
Many people who think too highly of themselves are in the danger of losing touch with reality and of becoming megalomaniac. Such people should always have some friends or associates who should occasionally puncture their vanity and bring them down to earth.
In ancient times Kings and Princes used to keep clowns or Vidushak who were permitted to laugh at the cost of the King in addition to making fun of them. Even the grim tragedy of King Lear is relieved by the wise, sarcastic and humorous remarks of the fool.
He asks King Lear whether the latter knows why a snail makes his shell. On Lear's inability to tell, the fool explains that snail is wiser than King Lear as snail can protect his head in his shell and would not give it to his daugh¬ter as Lear did. Again the fool makes fun of King Lear saying that if Lear had been his fool and he his King, he would have had the King beaten for being old before he became wise.
The fool, thus, keeps on reminding Lear of his misplaced generosity to his ungrateful daughters. He could do so only in a humorous manner not plainly. The jokes of Birbal at the expense of Emperor Akbar, illustrating a high sense of humour, are extremely popular with the people of North India.
In modern times, there are no kings and no official fools. But there are Presidents and Prime Ministers who have taken the place of kings. There are newspaper-cartoon¬ists who come out with amusing cartoons, exciting laughter at the irrational and self¬ish acts of politicians and they can be very effective in delivering their message.
So much fun was made of the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ninglekar, for get¬ting a medical seat for his ineligible daughter that he had to be removed from the post of Chief Ministership by Congress High Command.
It excites amusement of citizens when they find their exalted leader doing things which are not in keeping with their high status. The Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra found chasing an air hostess in Germany was a butt of ridicule for the entire nation and he had to be relieved of his ministerial berth.
We must develop a sense of humour if we want to maintain our mental balance. We should not take life too seriously. Life is not a well-executed plot. It has its ups; and down. We must not forget that our planet earth is like a speck of dust in the vast universe.
One man's life is but an infinitesimal part of the world. Although one must make the best of one's life, taking it too seriously and always being in a hurry, anxious or worked-up will not make one's life more worthwhile. We should learn to relax and look at the flow of life and unfolding of events in a relaxed and even amused attitude.
We should derive happiness from little things of life. Blessed with a sense of - humour, we find occasions for amusement and laughter almost everywhere. Little children imitating the mannerism of their parents provide a hilarious spectacle. Students; mimicing the voice of a strict and harsh teacher provoke unrestrained laughter. Forgetfulness of people occasions amusements.
A high ranking officer dressed in formal suit and necktie but forgetting to wear shoes and going to office in bathroom slippers provides an opportunity for amusement to his subordinates.
Apparent incongruous behaviour of people excites mirth. When we find a formi¬dable high ranking army officer washing clothes of his wife at home one cannot help laughing.
A teacher of scriptures found enjoying a cabaret performance invites unre-strained laughter from his students. If the targets of laughter are also equipped with a sense of humour they can develop self-awareness in their behaviour to make it more humane and balanced.