Published in The Tribune on 28th October 2011

There are some human beings who never fail to uplift the mood. Others never fail to dampen it. People of cheer are rare commodities, but they light up the lives of hundreds around them.

In a world that is increasingly tense and stressed, a person of cheer is like manna from heaven. He stands out in a crowd. His smile enlivens proceedings, warms the heart and soothes frayed nerves. He’s the one who lends a helping hand to an old lady; and he’s the one who smiles at the shop attendant (even if the latter is not a pretty girl, but a grumpy old man!)

When a scenario is grim and hopeless, such gems are even more invaluable. On the battlefront, for instance, in the face of adversity unparalleled, he who can generate a few chuckles with his banter is akin to a breath of fresh air.

Some bring cheer by dint of being inherently funny; others by way of effort. Whether in films or in real life, the ability to actually plant the seeds of mirth in the hearts of others is no mean feat.

Rajesh Khanna’s character in the timeless classic, Anand, was a memorable harbinger of happiness. He would never sit still and he would never stop his chatter, even while knowing that his days were numbered. He brought many a smile to our lips as we watched him in action and many a tear to our eyes when it was time for him to go.

Thus the need for us earthlings to recognise and even fete those who cheer us up! Not only those who professionally bring out the laughter instinct in us, but also those who do it intuitively and without practice. These people have extra happy genes inside them for sure. They need to be analysed, dissected and discussed in order to discern the qualities that they possess deep within.

At a recent meeting of a discussion circle, one lady complained that she hadn’t found the time to laugh in the last 10 days. Thankfully, the fact that the session was on ‘humour in real life’ enabled her to laugh enough to last her the rest of the year!

There are of course those who try to be very serious but still happen to be the cause of amusements. Some teachers are among them. The more they frown in anger at their class, the more they succeed in generating sniggers and even guffaws.

One look at the prophets of doom who abound in society these days, and we can be sure that had it not been for the champions of cheer, the world would have collapsed long ago. When the day of reckoning comes, and when it is really time to be counted, these ‘cheer-leaders’ will surely lead humanity towards eternal joy.

The rest of us will merely applaud them, smile broadly and follow on.