Thursday, August 05, 2004

Sab aise kyu hain?

Picturise this.............

You and a couple of friends are walking around the campus after class.....talking about all sorts of things like 'which couple to be made fun of next', 'how its been raining nonstop', 'how much stuff has to be done for the next day', 'who was sleeping in class today', 'which senior is cute', 'how romantic the weather is' and blah blah blah...............

Suddenly one of your friends trips on one of the steps, stumbles awkwardly and falls down.

What is the first thing that you do?

- Give your friend a helping hand?

- Check whether he/she is ok

- Check to see if they dropped any money

- Look at them, smirk, and keep walking

- Of course have a good laugh! after all YOU were the one who tripped them!

- Burst out into a laugh as if there can be nothing more comical!

Most of us would go with the last option. It's a subconscious decision. But why!!!!?

What's so funny about watching someone trip and fall?

Now let's turn the table.......

Suppose you are the person who trips and falls. What then?!

Do you
- get embarrassed about it and try to run away from the place

- get up and get going!

- show the middle finger to those sissies standing and giggling looking at you

Most of the people tend to do the first one. They get embarrassed about it and turn beet red! Why Why Why!

Now what got me started thinking about this!?

Here's what.............

In a usual Marketing Class, Mr. Panda was taking attendance as usual by asking...'Who is
absent?" (as if he assumes the person who is absent to come out of thin air and say 'I am absent sir!')

That day there was one guy missing. Usually Panda doesn't ask why someone is absent; but
that day he had to ask. Someone goes upto him with half a mind and whispers something in his ears.
Since I was sitting in the front row, I could hear "@&*&%$^^& hospitalised &^$%&^&*&*."

After the class, I asked some of the absent guy's friends (lets call the absent guy kris) what happened to him and why he was hospitalised. Most of the guys blushed (yeah they actually did) and tried to avoid the question by giving some vague answer.
Priya (read persistent) that I am, I managed to get the cat out of the box!

Here's what happened.........
Poor kris, was getting ready for the 8 am class on that DDay and was in the lavatory. Suddenly without any warning the commode comes crashing down as if it has been waiting for this moment all it's life, and brings an unsuspecting and half asleep kris crashing down with it!

Ouch! Must have hurt!

This is what came to my mind when I first heard about it. But some people sitting with me found it exceptionally funny! And I saw this reaction in most of the people who happened to hear the news!

And poor Kris was in the hospital getting stitches on!

Finally Kris comes to the class after a couple of hours and you can guess the obvious reactions........

"Hey dude.....(with a sly smile) where exactly does it hurt?"

"Kris.....(again with a sheepish smile) did you manage to do that!"

and there were lots of others who were just brave enough to give loads of sheepish smiles.

Not a single person asks him how he is or whether he needs any help!

Shame on us!

Why do people behave this way? Why do we laugh when someone falls down, even though he might get hurt?

- Do we always have to be perfect?

- Are we always waiting to find some fault with others?

- Do we feel we are less grand than others if we trip and fall

- what is this....some kind of a sadist world!

There may be many reasons for this behaviour. Let me try to come up with some logical reasons.

The first maybe that we laugh because we feel superior. Perhaps, we feel good that it wasn't us. This isn't a particularly nice theory. But it does make some sense.

Another idea is that we laugh because of "incongruity." Things don't match up. We're caught off guard. We weren't EXPECTING that person to fall down. It isn't normal. But still, WHY do we laugh?

But still, how are feelings of superiority or release or whatever turned into this weird,
uncontrolled act of laughter that your body goes through?

Beats me buddy!

Here's what Bill Forsyth, Screenplay writer has to say about this

"I think that Glaswegian humour is very similar to New York humour, which is really Jewish humour for it is the humour of despair, the humour of the gallows. The humour of
awful circumstances or predicaments. I think that is where humour comes from. From
situations where the only way out is to laugh, for survival's sake. At the bottom of every
joke is a piece of despair, you can't produce a laugh without it. If someone falls on a
banana skin you get a laugh, but someone gets hurt."

"I think we're basically all odd. I think we all have a tension between what we think we are and what other people think we are."

I guess that explains it all........It's the subconscious fight between who we are and who we think others think we are!

Yet to see a person who doesn't behave this way.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gawd... Such a passionate post on such a small thing..Guess u really felt strongly abt it!!

U know wot.. Honestly, i do laff when ppl trip/slip n fall (Mebbe coz i have no issues with ppl laffing when it happens to me... which is quite often, trust me)

Its just that i feel oddly reassured that its perfectly human to be as careless as i am. I have tried telling myself "Gotta be careful atleast the next time" but it never works that way...I am imperfect n i love being so :-) Life wud be very, very boring if one never slipped and was laffed at..

However in this case, though the commode thing was realllly funny, when i saw STITCHES somewhere, realised it must have hurt like crazy..Regds to "Kris" !!


Anonymous said...

When I started reading your post, all I thought was the wrong timing of the post (the incident happened some days back). I was wondering about the provocation that might have catalysed the thought process.
After I was through with the post, however, I was wondering about something I read of Freud. According to one of his controversial theories, our subconscious actually is free of things we, with our conscious mind, call sadistic. What is unbelievable to you or me may be just a matter of routine for the subconscious. For example, picture this:
Often, we dream of some of our dear ones coming to harm or actually dying...these dear ones, even including our parents at times. Freud says that the dreams we see are manifestations of the desires of our subconscious, that is, at some point of our life (Freud mentions the period when we are little kids and our conscious is incapable of the distinction between good and bad), we must have willed our dear ones bad.
I know that it sounds extremely odd and that no one can admit that he/she ever willed his/her parents bad but that's the way our subconscious behaves...the way it acts is beyond our current understanding of how things are or should so often works in the past as it does in the present and may be even the future...
Well, sorry for the long comment but I did get reminded of this thing of Freud and somehow, felt compelled to share it

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Hi Nitai,

What you said sounds logical.

I wish i could will my subconscious mind to concentrate on the Ponds cold cream case I am trying to read now :)

Anonymous said...


GWBE - i guess u can correct urself and say - "I've seen just 1 person who doesn't behave this way!" But of course u wouldn't know coz u've never seen me handle sthng like that!

guess i don't do it coz most of the time i'm the one who does the falling! used 2 b a real klutz as a kid and very accident prone. by now i've learnt 2 treat people who've met with an accident the way i'd like 2 b treated coz i've wished that sbdy would do it that way ever so many times !!!

What people want at that time is 1st 2 be checked out and be assured that they r ok. Then to treat the accident in a very matter-of-fact no-big-deal-could-have-happened-to-anybody way! At least that is the way i want myself 2 b treated and that is the way i dish it out.


Anonymous said...

Now lady,
u really are out of ideas.. or was this an amalgamation of "character analysis" with the "FUNNY" incident. Anyhow, the fact is that the incident was funny because some parts of the human anatomy are funny. There is a taboo in society against discussing somethings. Analysed from a purely logical angle, all taboos are foolish, but then thats how society is. Most of us are conformers.
As far as the superiority aspect of the character goes.. well have doubts about that. There are two reactions to an incident (again this is my personal opinion -- no generalisations)
1. When the incident has just occured you feel you should help the fellow out. Thats a genuine feeling of empathy as a human being. You take the pains to get this friend the best possible treatment.. etc.
2. Laughter at a later stage.. may be a form of tension releif. After the incident is over and the person has got the required medical attention, u want to laugh about the situation, so as to take away the seriousness..

enough baloney for the day