The "Kill Joys"

This post is dedicated to all the "Kill Joys" of this world.!

Don't know what it means? Come on, I am sure you have met as many as I have ( provided ofcourse you are as old as I am or who knows... you may have been lucky enough to meet double the number in half the number of years .. it all depends!)

Remember those teachers back in school who used to turn excursions into some kind of torture? We could not sit with our friends , we could not talk or laugh in public ? "Don't ... Don't...." was all that we used to hear!

Recently while clearing out an old cupboard I stumbled onto a "school handbook" belonging to my husband when he was in the 12th standard.. Now this is what I call a "how to" book for all the "Kill Joys" of this world. Let me give you a taste of some of the gems that we found

The list begins with an instruction -
" Read through the hand book carefully. Every page of it has information specially meant for you"  and then come those nuggets:
  • Class rooms are meant for study so if youar inclined to be noisy , make the nise outside before you go into the school building 
  • Do not run about or play inside the school building. There is plenty of space outside.
  • Do not steal time between the periods to ease yourself or to drink water. The intervals provided for this are long enough (  I wonder what one does if one has to "go" during a class...? And imagine intervals with long lines of boys waiting to "go"?)
  • Never creep through or jump over fences and walls. You can afford to spend an extra miute to go along the proper road.
  • If you must cough or sneeze in public do it quietly into a handkerchief but refrain from doing it if you can ( I love this one...! )
Just imagine what effect it can have on the enthusiasm and energy levels of an average seventeen year old boy? Devastating...! No wonder I say that it has been designed by a list of people whose Ph. D and post doctoral thesis must have been on  the "Kill Joy" theory! Not to say that my school days were without these scholars. They had their own list - more suited to girls. Some like the first one was explicitly stated while the others were implied.
  • Dont run down the stairs. Walk in a "lady like manner" ( meaning "take mincing steps")
  • Dont react if you see anything male ( well you can.... I guess provided it is a dog or a cat but no reactions allowed for the human male)
  • Dont pollute your mind by reading romance novels
But life in school went on despite the "kill joys"... ! We survived ....rushing down the stairs, sliding down bannisters and reading romance novels. Some of us even managed to talk to boys.

"Kill Joys" unfortunately do not die with the end of school days..! They evolve along with us into a new entity ( something like viruses who mutate to get past the new drugs) to fit in better into our new lives.

During college days there were these "kill joy" profs who used to shuffle classmates around during practs so that you ended up with some geek for a chemistry lab assignment. Ofcourse the question of who was the geek was often a relative one considering who was the other in the pair.

My own dad has often been a "kill joy" sitting next to the phone while I was trying to talk to friends about something verrry interesting. Those days phones were rather rudimentary and one did not have a cord less hand set or cell phone. So we just had to sit on that stool next to the telephone stand in the living room hoping dad was not "dropping eaves"!

But I think nothing compares to my friend's mom..! I guess she was royalty where "kill joys" were concerned. She used to join us for conversations everytime  I went to my friend's house. We never got a moment alone to discuss all those juicy things that college did not have time for. She even used to read all incoming and outgoing mail ( I mean mail as in mail not email). That poor girl could not seal a letter without her mom having read it first! No code words were allowed - they had to be explained to "her highness".

Life however, has a way of getting us past these people. Despite dad, I managed to talk to my husband ( then my boyfriend) over phone and finally got married to him!

Post marriage we had my mother in law who often chose a most "opportune" moment to call out to either of us from her room downstairs! Then ofcourse, was the little one who was the empress where "kill joy" behaviour was concerned- choosing to yell out for attention when we had just thought we were going to have some quiet moments together! But, as my husband says.. these are essential in keeping the country's population under control!

Last week ofcourse, I had the most interesting experience. My daughter was on the phone giggling about something and guess who was the kill joy?  None other than my dear husband who shouted - " I heard that" !!! (I must say  that over time "Kill joys" seem to revel in their identity .. the way they announce themselves)

I just ran out of the room before I was accused along with "Daddy cool" and called " Kill joy"!

Life, I must say, sure has a way of  turning itself round ...!!!


  1. You know in school we used to have library period. And there was total cross patch of a nun who was in charge of library. The library class one year was just before lunch. And being a convent school we had to pray before and after just about anything. So when we used to pray before lunch in library class, she would shout 'if you pray so softly how can God hear you' or if you prayed loudly she would say 'Jesus is not deaf' I tell you there is no pleasing some people. And this same sister used to hide M&Bs inside a magazine and read!!

  2. hahaaa... enjoyed the read a lot.....
    really a very well written piece of work, reminded me some moments of olden days.


  3. Made me smilke all through.I think kill-joys derive joy killing others joys.Is the morose one in a boisterous crowd a kill joy or the one asking for vattha kuzhambu when evveryone is rooting for pizza a KJ or the sisterinlaw accompanying a newly married couple to the marina beach one?There are unconscious KJs just like deliberate moms in law feigning sickness when son is planning to take his wife on a two day outing.The list is endless.
    Thanks Meera for the humourous post

  4. hahaha..the world [earth] is indeed a circle [round]...*don't pollute your mind by reading romance novel' that got me!..hahhahaa.

  5. Thanks Folks...! Ibade I dont know about Nigeria but a lot of us in India from our generation studied in convent schools where almost everything was forbidden!
    Partha, wanting Vatha Kuzhambu can ofcourse never be KJ behaviour because it beats pizza hollow!! But sure the mamiyar-nathanar interference in the lives of a newly wed qualify ( my poor mum had to put up with a lot of that). I guess all of us today are heading towards becoming KJ- let us just ask the younger generation...:-)

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    But then,these kill joys have managed to make you grow up with the values you keep.The modern trends of freedom to children, have given rise to unheard of problems.About 30% children enter in to some kind of relationships,often ending up in troubled lives.
    There is always a price you pay for anything you get in life.

  7. Great piece Meera! But looking back, reading "forbidden" books, talking to girls, riding the scooter when father is on tour and generally breaking the kj's laws made life merrier and more adventurous.

    You haven't mentioned the kjs of organizations - the ones who gleefully mention clauses in policies and procedures to show why you can't do something - the more creative your ideas, the more stringent the policies dug out and thrown in your face!

    There is an inter-generational difference in how kjs are handled. While I used to ride the scooter in my father's absence when I was a boy, my son takes it without my knowledge even when I am very much in the house!

    Enjoyed reading this Meera - thanks & keep writing.

  8. KJs dont know they are KJs- they probably think that they are being our "concsience"! Ofcourse parents cannot help it -it is an occupational hazard :-)While on organizational policies being KJs, I think it depends on who is interpreting them- the policies per se are innocent...! What about parties which are sometimes KJs simply because of the person who might be compereing?

  9. Oh, I just loved this post. It is too good. The instruction about not getting excited by the sight of 'Human Male' is too good. And nothing beat the explanation that Kill Joys keep the country's population under control. That one is hilarious.

    Loved the posta lot..

    Waiting for more..

  10. Hahahaha....thats do hilarious Meera! People are so interested in keeping the population in check;) My MIL is an angel, she is our birth control PILL;)Eager to read more such posts from you:)

  11. he he he :) reminded me of School times and the teachers .. yes KILL joys .. you wait for so long to get the courage to sit next to a girl and wht happens Mr. DS comes and shouts BIKRAM go back to you seat ...

    And if i get late beacause i had to stand in the corridor till SHE Walked by.. He makes me stand up all class

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh :)

    lovely post loved it



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