Tag Archives: #funny

Not Just Funny!

So, I have been watching a standup comedy show called – Comicstaan on Amazon Prime Video. This is an Indian show featuring Indian comedians. I stumbled upon it – watched the trailer, loved the jokes and got hooked to it.

I have watched other standup comedians too, mostly western and I enjoyed those, but there was something more endearing about Comicstaan. As I kept watching episodes, it dawned on me that it is the Indian context that I connected with at a deeper level sometimes even more so than the comedy.

Because I knew what they were talking about as I had gone through the experience myself. I believe that the punchlines are just a lot stronger in Hindi or other regional languages because that is what I heard growing up and some words aren’t translatable. You have to know them.

It was more of a nostalgic journey for me, as well. It brought back all the school memories, eve-teasing in India, local trains. The daily routine that I had and brought into sharp focus the sad/annoying parts of it in a humorous way – the beauty of stand up comedy. For example, when I was growing up, we had to do this thing called ‘March Past’. It was a squad of kids who would march around the school grounds and turn to look at the chief guest when we passed them. One of my favourite comedians – Kannan Gill did a 5-minute bit about it. To paraphrase, he said, ‘Which perverse chief guest wants to see kids sweat in the sun and look at him as they march past him?’ Authentic, made me wonder why we did that, but this is the beauty. You laugh at all the agony you went through.

It is also a source of connection for me. I shared this with my good friend and even my dad. And when I described it to them there was this moment of instant connection when we all went back to our school days – experienced the same thing – came back to the conversation feeling more connected.

It also brought me up to date with what has happened in India after I left. India now has the tallest statue in the world – called ‘Statue of unity.’ The state of ‘Allahbad’ is now called ‘Prayagraj’. And apparently, dick pics/casual sex/dating are the rage in India. It made me realize that India I knew and grew up in does not exist. I do not think I will be ‘at home’ in India the same way I was before – there will be a lot of catching up to do.

And of course, I laughed a lot. I chuckled and sometimes came close to rolling on the floor. When we can laugh at our follies – it is as close to nirvana or enlightenment that we can get to. We tend to take ourselves too seriously, and sometimes we need somebody else to point out that funny side.

How do you bring humor in your life?

Empathy – huh!

Empathy – seems to be the buzz word these days. Notably, in management – empathy for your customers, for your business partners, for your team. And if that’s not enough, three people who I know well and spend quite a bit of time with have Empathy as their top gallup strength. Now, I believe I am smart enough to know that fighting the battle about ‘Empathy – not a big deal’ is not going to get me anywhere. On a serious note, I realized I would need to do something about empathy to be a better human being. Period.

On my search to understand empathy I looked everywhere but I was like a blind person in a dark room – there was no chance of seeing the light. But then the benevolent universe provided, and my blind eyes spotted a blog (maybe it was in braille) which had a sweet story that gave me a little insight into Empathy.

“A first-time teacher goes to her first class at a university. The students are all bored, and she is feeling very nervous. She asks the students to write on a piece of paper – how are they feeling? Their responses include -confused, bored, mindless.Then she asks the students to take another piece of paper and write – how do they think she is feeling?”

The very act of asking the question changed the energy in the room. There was a marked changed in the students – they were attentive.

This question – how do you think the other person is feeling right now? It did the trick for me. All the talk about stepping into their shoes didn’t make much sense but trying to understand how the other person is feeling – CLICKED. Thank you, Universe. I seem to have a mental blocking about putting myself in somebody’s shoes because in my mind it is not possible at all – but I can try and understand how they are feeling.

Let’s take the next step on this journey where I currently exist. Practice. I have to remember to practice this during my day to day interactions with other people. And whenever my fleeting mind decides to retain this question I have noticed a change in the way I behave – my habit patterns are starting to shift a little.

We, humans, are intellectual creatures – knowing how things work and asking why is quite central to our human condition, although the usefulness of this trait is up for doubt. My enquiring mind went on a quest to understand the question more deeply. The answer was very insightful – the question makes me think of somebody other than me. And even if for a second somebody else becomes the star of the movie of my life – I take a step closer to being a better version of myself. Wait! My line of inquiry hasn’t finished. It is essential for us to think of others because there is no I and there is no them, there is only us. We are all drops of the same ocean. Empathy, here I come!