I love humour… and I love playing around with words. Anything funny especially at self with perfect timing grabs my attention. I thrive on Comedy serials like Friends and Will & Grace for the oh-so-inappropriate play on words and innuendoes. Stand-up comedians like Arj Barker and Drew Carey have fascinated me with their linguistic abilities. Believe me, my pantheon of humourists is pretty respectable and after a recent e-mail I have admitted another illustrious member in its ranks – Dr Abdul Kalam. Let me relate to you what happened at a meeting in Coimbatore recently where this illustrious October Octogenarian was invited to give a speech.
He arrived two hours late, but made up for it by sprinting the last few steps leading to the podium at a pace that would have made the ten-kilometre-a-day joggers among us blush. The crowd, in its wisdom, seemed to conclude that this entertainment was compensation enough for the two hour wait and gave him a thunderous applause that as always, would have lasted for ever, had not Dr Kalam interrupted them with his singing. Yes, he apparently started singing on the stage and the audience found themselves transported into a state of ecstatic rapture over Cloud Nine and into Seventh Heaven and special planes had to be dispatched to fetch them back to earth.
In a fluid transition from poetry to prose (…and this is the punch line that made me conclude that the guy has a super sense of humour) he announced “The earth has been revolving non-stop around the sun for millions of years. Our pursuit of excellence should also be like it,” he stressed. “I am on my 76th revolution around the sun,” he said and paused dramatically for the audience’s reaction.
The audience waited with bated breath and keen anticipation. They were aware of the significance of the moment passing into history and that they were the only ones in the entire Universe privileged to listen in live to the punch line that was going to be delivered.
“This only means that I am 75 years old,” Dr Kalam completed sending the audience into a collective paroxysm of belly-aching, side-splitting, jaw-breaking, laughter….. Wow what a legend!!!