A couple of years ago while holidaying in Mumbai, India, I sat next to a total stranger while watching Bollywood movie "Good News" at the cinemas. Throughout the movie, this lady laughed at dialogues I didn't find funny in the least. She giggled and clapped while I wondered what she could have possibly found so funny. Interestingly, whenever I found something hilarious and laughed out loud, she remained solemn and unimpressed by what was happening on the big screen.
It was towards the end of the movie that I made an interesting discovery about humanity.
In a heart-wrenching scene, a baby is born premature and has to fight for her life. As actor Akshay Kumar wept on screen while watching the fragile infant struggle for survival, there was a strange stillness in the audience. As the tears flowed from my eyes, I heard the lady next to me sobbing into her hanky.
And i understood a universal truth.
In humour, she and i had nothing in common.
But in grief, we were united.
Our souls recognised the pain and anguish of human suffering. We knew what it feels like when a heart breaks, when you lose someone you love, when everything seems lost.
We were strangers and yet we were sisters.
Human suffering, no matter what shape or form it takes, connects us all.
She and I didn't find the same things funny.
But we found the same things sad.
Because, deep down, that's the universal truth. We are all connected by the poignant, bitter-sweet fabric of human existence.
Nim Gholkar, 2021