All that it takes

It was a particularly chilly day. The passengers on the train kept to themselves, each lost in their thoughts swirling around in their busy heads. One man listened to the latest hits on his iPod, his head moving in rhythmic efficiency to the pop tunes playing into his earphones. A little boy clung to his mother, watching the other commuters, wide-eyed and curious. Yet another chap sat upright in his seat, browsing through his newspaper, obviously displeased with the news of war and terror staring him in the face.

She sat in the corner, reading a book, a novel by the looks of it. Her face revealed that she would be no older than 25. Suddenly, she threw her head back and laughed- a free, ringing, gorgeous peal of happiness that rent the staid atmosphere of the coach. Everyone looked up, startled by the unexpectedness of it all.

Realising the disruption, she looked up from the book, flashed an impish smile at them all and went back to the book. I could see the cover page now. It was P.G. Wodehouse’s ‘Summer Lightning’. A flash of joy rippled across my heart. No wonder she laughed out loud. I would have too!

Within minutes, the next station arrived and she rose from her place and swung her satchel over her back, clasping the book in her hand. Her face, though not striking,Β looked particularly bright to me. It was the laugh that had done it. It had broken the barrier of mundane solidity that gripped us all.

It was then that I saw it.

The back of the satchel. On it was embroidered the words, ‘ My name, Hassani, means ‘Laughter’ in Khmer. It is your birthright to smile, laugh and be happy. Let nobody tell you otherwise.’

With a smile and a wave at the coach in general, she was gone. And yet, she had left behind so much for everyone to savour.

Β©Shailaja V

Picture courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

I wrote this piece in response to this article that I read today, where the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister has declared that women should not laugh in public. You can read the article belowΒ as well as the Twitter response from thousands of Turkish Women.

Article about Turkish Deputy PM’s remarks

{On an unrelated note, this marks my 50th post on this blog! Yay!}

Linking this to the Yeah Write Moonshine Grid # 173

29 thoughts on “All that it takes

  1. Shailaja, what an amazing response to a rather disturbing piece of news. Only you could have done it so well. Loved it!! Many congratulations on the milestone. Look forward to celebrating many more of these with you. Much love!

  2. Great job conveying how this one little moment jolted everyone and brought them momentarily together. It was so disturbing to learn of the news item that inspired your post. I loved the photo you paired with it. Congrats on 50.

    1. Thank you very much, Marcy. I was truly shocked when I read the article. In this day when freedom of expression is the life breath of every citizen, how can anyone tell a person not to laugh? That is not just ridiculous, but inhuman! So happy that you stopped by πŸ™‚

  3. You came with such a beautiful post on the topic. I loved the way you described her laughter and the impact it had πŸ™‚

  4. Just reading this lovely imaginative post has given me a big smile πŸ™‚ Thanks for this beautiful thought, Shailaja. And keep laughing πŸ™‚ Congratulations for the 50th, and here’s wishing you many many more!

  5. I love your response to this! πŸ™‚ Stories are a great way to react to what’s going on in the world, and this is a perfect example of how the world should be.

  6. I’m in love with the post, Shailaja! It’s truly beautiful and sincere. I’ll rea the bok mentioned too πŸ™‚ Congrats on your 50th and many many more to come <3 Keep writing…

  7. Congrats on your 50th post, Shailaja – seems like only yesterday you started this blog! πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading your 500th! Hugs!

    Fabulous post, by the way! I loved the P G Wodehouse book! I am reading Something Fresh right now along with another book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.