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Meem Laaleh: Adding Kashur witticism to social media

Srinagar, Feb 9: “Assun” means ‘laughter’ in Kashmiri, a simple word but hard to come by amid the turmoil in the valley. Meem laaleh, a female comedian from Srinagar’s old city, however, knows the desperate measure for the desperate times. Her videos dabbled in humor are taking social media by storm.

In the last three years, the valley has seen the rise of comedy. The comedians receive the kind of adulation that was earlier reserved for noted singers, writers’ and artists— fan art, fan pages on social media, and being hounded for selfie requests. Carving their niche within this space now is a new subset of comedians. The ones that prefer to remain anonymous by using emojis. The latest example being Meem laaleh.

 

The comedian has charmed the Kashmiri audience with her witty remarks on everyday issues. Her series of short videos featuring a female emoji, has a loyal following on her Facebook and Instagram page.

“When have we seen clowns without a mask? The idea is to convey satire, create humor for which one’s real identity is irrelevant,” says Meem laaleh about her anonymity.

The middle-aged female comedian believes that “Humor and laughter” can be a valuable tool for defusing tensions brought on by conflict.“If we are in a conflict, and we feel backed into a corner or that someone is blaming us, we become defensive which clogs our ability to see reason and move forward. Inserting humor into the situation can break up the tension and gives each party a chance to gain some perspective,” says Meem laaleh, in a confident tone.

Meem laaleh credits her love for comedy to her mother who encouraged her to make the videos.“As a kid when I would do mimicry in front of my mother, she would burst into laughter and ask me to repeat it,” she recalls, adding that Kashmiris’ have a good sense of humor.

Some topics— observations on middle-class households, and stereotypes about Kashmiris’, Power woes of the Valley, Puns on mainstream and regional political parties, faulty education system and trending issues of the state – have become staples in the Kashmiri comedy scene. Meem laaleh creates fresh jokes out of such familiar situations but she takes them into unpredictable directions.

The Kashmiri comedian prefers to make videos in Kashmiri language as she believes native languages convey message in more appropriate way than any other language.“I find jokes in in our own language the funniest. Our punchlines can be remembered for generations,” she says.
Asked why she named the page as “Meem laaleh,” she responds, “I realized that “Meme” and “Meem” sound the same. So it sounded like a natural and cultural fit and gave birth to “Meem laaleh,” adding memes allow people to reflect on feelings that they want to talk about in an easily consumable way.

Recently the comedian received message from one of her followers which has motivated her to make her more such videos. “I received a message from a woman who said these videos were making her husband who was undergoing chemotherapy laugh. That really moved me,” she says.

How do you view online comedy? “A bit of comedy online can make you a better person offline. If my 20 second video clip can make someone laugh, why would I refuse to make one,” she concludes.