“My life has been one great big joke. A dance that’s walked. A song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.” – Maya Angelou.

When people try to talk to me, they forget that I am sixty six years old and from an ancient civilization. There is the most often used greeting, which I doubt, really is expected to be responded to – “howya doing?”. I inevitably respond much to the dismay of the greeter – “I stopped doing a long time ago, why are you raking it up now?” It takes a while for the message to get across but results in some uneasy mirth. Objective achieved.

The other one – “How do you do?” also gets an atypical response – “the missionary style, why, do you do differently?” sometimes results in uncontrollable fits of laughter reminding one of Maya Angelou. Objective achieved.

I do not really know. I think that I was just born that way. I have to force myself to take life seriously. I had a lot of problems during my working career due to this irreverence to life and pompousness and I suspect, I paid a price for it too. Not that it matters, but, perhaps I could have scaled greater heights. When that thought appears, the picture that pops up in my mind is that of Sisyphus. I would rather be me.

My father did not finish his schooling but succeeded in life in his own way. He however thinks that his offspring who did acquire some qualifications must be treated with reverence and so his mail to us will always contain our names in the address including our educational qualifications. An affectation that I find quite amusing, to see in many visiting cards. For instance, my address on mail sent by him will always contain my degrees as B.A, M.B.A, after my name. My nephew promptly has changed my name to BAMBA. The problem with this quirk is that my father, unlike my mother, expects me to be a very serious person, what with all those fancy qualifications. So, when he came to know about how I had to get my hip joints replaced, he was aghast and has been trying to find more details till today, despite a quarter of a century having gone by. I used to tell people who asked why I needed to get my hip joints replaced, that I had to jump off a second floor apartment. That response would inevitably generate the question “why? Fire?” and I would say, “No, the husband came.”

I, as did my three siblings, inherited the most important gene from our late mother. A capacity to laugh at life and one’s self. Bless her soul, none of us have the slightest indication of stress or strain or any of the modern ailments that can put one into an ICU. When the four of us are together, it is a riot. Nonstop laughter and glee.

A friend of mine was suspected to be suffering from a heart attack and his loving family took him promptly to the nearest hospital. When I came to know, I rushed there and there he was basking in the glory of all the attention he was receiving but with a somber and serious face. I took one look at him and said, come on get up and come away you dope, you don’t have a heart. It must have been a fart attack. The family promptly bundled me out of the room and scolded me and sent me packing. Our man was back home next afternoon and invited me for lunch at his place to partake in some Choley Bhature – chick peas in thick creamy gravy and deep fried bread. He is still hale and hearty and shares the story of my indiscretion with anyone who will listen. Heaven knows what would have happened if he had bought it though!

Even people who have never met me come to the conclusion that I am not to be taken seriously. Bikehikebabe, known to all my readers in general and the LCB community in particular, once told me in all seriousness that I was fit only to be a comedian. I promptly agreed, much to her dismay I am sure. Deb, a recent observer of my shenanigans had this to say just a few days ago. “Ramana – I have never been referred to as biblical before! lol Or wise!!For you, particularly, it was so apt because you are so funny and we do all enjoy your humor!”

I would rather be known as a comedian or a funny guy than the OGO (Oh Great One), as the other comedian in our little world, Maynard is called. For the less informed, the UHM (Ultimate Humour Machine) will do.

I am waiting for the day when the two of us meet face to face. I already feel sorry for the people around at that time, if there be any.

I suppose it has its downside, unable to be serious. There must be occasions when my flippancy can cause unease, as it did at the hospital. But, that is me. I doubt that I can change at this late stage of my life. Moral of the story – be prepared when you are around me.

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