A lot of people who know me think I am a pretty serious person. Maybe it’s because I have a tendency to intensify conversations. But as serious/intellectual/deep I get, I can go equally crazy. My friends say I have gone ‘high on water’ because there is no real substance involved in these crazy episodes. I tend to crack jokes and laugh at them myself, whether or not others find it funny!
These moods happen usually when I feel very comfortable or under certain pressures. People I know are usually around for this. It usually starts with a small joke only I find funny or understand, then builds up because no one else understands the joke, then the fact that I find such a thing funny makes me laugh more. When I was younger, the sound of my own laughter would make me laugh harder, propelling a long unstoppable fit. Only after I got stomach aches and could hardly breathe I would try to slow down. But usually once I’ve had a small break, if the conversation returns to the same topic soon enough, it can cause another doubling over. I never expected a laughing fit to start when I was alone, although there have been times when something you think of is funny enough to cause a short laugh. This happens to everyone, right? I suspect we all have our ways of masking these moments to look normal.
One day, I was riding back home on an old bicycle. There is a train crossing on the way. This particular day the signal was down, on red. So I stopped and waited. Others on cars, bikes and on foot also waited on either side of the tracks. It was so quiet. I leaned back on the bike and it creeaked. I looked around to see if anyone else heard it. No one seemed to notice. I then became very sensitive to the creaks the bike made with even a slight movement. For some time it was entertaining but after a point it became funny. But I couldn’t laugh because it was so quiet! I tried very hard to stop moving the bike, but it continued to let out small creaks and squeaks. I tried so hard not to laugh. I tried putting my arm in front of my face, trying to make it look like I was rubbing an itch on my nose to cover up my big grin. Looking at all those impassive people standing around quietly waiting for a train to pass was suddenly very funny too. I imagined how they would react if I were to burst out laughing like I wanted to. Their looks. That certainly didn’t help. In fact, by checking their faces so often for a reaction to the creaks and my suppressed grins, I had started to attract quite a few confused looks. I let out a giggle and smiled widely. Would these people ever see me again? It is a small town. An Indian looking girl who laughed for no reason at a train signal in my neighbourhood wouldn’t be hard to remember. Where was the train?! The laughter was bubbling unbearably within me. After what felt like forever, I heard the rumble of an approaching train. After it passed and the gates lifted, I rode on and allowed myself to smile.