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Daddy’s Diaries II

 

You’re sitting on a 14-hour plane ride. Just as you’re about to doze off, a roar of laughter erupts two rows behind you. Some guy with his headphones on is watching Everybody Loves Raymond, laughing away to glory as if in his own home. ‘What a weirdo,’ you mutter under your breath.

That weirdo used to be my dad. His headphones were his wings, teleporting him to other worlds and times. He would laugh out loud, and I mean LOUD. From the pit of his stomach, unable to control himself.

As a child, I would look down and pretend I didn’t know him, lest anybody guess the strange man was my father. As a teenager, I’d look at my Mum and together we’d roll our eyes. But as I grew older, I began to envy him.

I envied his abandon, the way not a wrinkle of worry creased his forehead at the thought of being ridiculed. If someone did muster up the courage to tell him to keep it down, he would apologize with a smile, and laugh just as hard with his lips sealed.

I opened up his diary today to find a clean page with just four words: “Unburden yourself with laughter”.

It came almost as an order: Go. Unburden yourself with laughter.

As parents especially, we take life very seriously. We harbor responsibilities. We constantly face challenges. Things are always demanded of us, and the best is always expected of us.

It’s easy to be young and carefree. But to be old and carefree–now that’s an achievement.

My father used to love old British comedies, but he’d also have a chuckle at Ali G. Homer Simpson was his favorite father figure, and he thought Garfield had mastered the art of perfect bliss.

It’s not what makes you laugh, just the fact that something should. Humor is sometimes the strongest weapon we hold.

Other South Asian parents often thought it a little childish that my father enjoyed cartoons and collected Simpsons memorabilia. But a few began to understand why.

Life is ready to punch you in the face. You can either hit the ground and cry, or you can “roll on the floor laughing” and get back up less burdened.

If your children see you laugh at yourself, they will understand that sometimes things go terribly wrong, and the best we can do is shrug our shoulders, hope for the best, and move on.

For my father, laughter was surrender. It was his way of saying, “Ok God, so be it. Throw me a curve ball; I’ll smack it so hard with gratitude and happiness, even you’ll be sorry you threw it.” And it’s not that the challenges stopped coming his way, but just that each time they hurt him a little less. And strengthened him a little more.

Because he knew how to laugh. He knew how to be happy. Not ha-ha happy just on the outside. But truly happy, so that he had the ability to sit in a room full of hundreds of people, and laugh out LOUD because Homer Simpson had farted.

It was his way of showing his family nothing would ever happen that they would not be able to overcome.

A smile will always creep back on your face. And even amidst deep sadness, a moment will help you forget your sorrow. You will hold your stomach and laugh. And you will laugh and laugh and laugh. Until the tears start falling from your eyes, and just as in this very moment, you won’t be able to differentiate between the pain and the joy.

Go. Unburden yourself with laughter.

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17 Responses to Daddy’s Diaries II

  1. Aaron December 10, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Absolutely love it!! :) It made me think, smile and want to live life more.

  2. South Asian Parent Fan December 10, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    LOVE it. Very motivational, reminds you not to take yourself too seriously.

  3. Suparna December 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    “It’s easy to be young and carefree. But to be old and carefree – now that’s an achievement.” <= Absolutely love these words!

  4. Shivani December 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Beautiful! Makes you realize, its all about inner peace and joy.
    Go. Write a book :)

  5. alisha December 12, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    So true. Laugh at life when it troubles u and it will surely shy away. When you don”t let DEFEAT defeat you but you stand up and defeat DEFEAT is a sure victory. So go..get victorious!!

  6. Leann December 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    so beautiful uttu!..so beautiful!

  7. Jesika December 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Love it!!!He loved everybody loves Raymond.
    I learned that in California when I was with him. I can’t stop laughing just thinking about those moments. With laughter tears go girl.

  8. Anish December 13, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Very good I liked the curve ball part

  9. Harshita December 14, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    Really loved this article…so many beautiful things to take away from it. I can relate to those times when you laugh so hard you feel like you’ll burst! – Can never have enough of those moments 😉

  10. Aasam December 16, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    We are so wrapped up in our own worlds, and normally cannot see beyond our own problems, we bicker, we fight, we are offensive, we are defensive, yet, the simplest thing “laughter”, the one thing that will actually keep us level-headed, and ultimately bring us closer to each other, is too often forgotten.

    Uttama, your father has taught us all to smile in the face of sadness, see and yield the positive out of a situation, and truly believe that “Laughter Is The Best Medicine”.

  11. Vinay Gandhi December 16, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    “It was his way of showing his family nothing would ever happen that they would not be able to overcome”.. Very true…he really showed what inner peace is !

  12. vishnu December 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    All you have said is a true enlightenment of who he truly was. Having spent an entire childhood with him I knew his laughter and he always stayed the same.

    Will always cherish his laughter and good humour. A true and loving friend forever.

  13. Deepa January 3, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    He is cherished from kids to elders. He would always bring a smile to everyone’s face. Waiting to read more such moments. x

  14. Jyoti January 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Uttu…had tears in my eyes by the end of the article. It has been a hard year for me trying to cope with the loss of Ashok…but your article spoke volumes in a page. The last paragraph summed up my entire past year in a few lines. Dad and Ashok had the gift of spreading laughter in a room full of people…and they taught us – Don’t just live life to the fullest but enjoy it!

  15. Ranjana March 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Uttu, your article reminds me so much of my dad who was exactly like your dad. He loved comedies,especially fawlty towers, when he would laugh so much that tears would roll out of his eyes. very well written article

  16. Preetam March 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    WOW!!! Uttama you have nailed it. Absolutely makes me want to make a lemonade when life throws me a lemon. Pearls of wisdom….

  17. jharna gupta July 6, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    again a beautifully written life advice of great importance. i had tears too….i can imagine how wonderful it must be to have known your dear dad….:)he is so alive through your writings!

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