This morning a friend in my school group forwarded a post listing various mind and body benefits that accrue from clapping hands, triggering a host of memories and associations related to this simple expression that all of us are born with.
What a delightful sight it is to see a child clapping hands, face covered with that toothless smile! The clapping continues to be a regular display of joy, even after teething, and all through childhood.
I recall my own schooldays when the mass drill was concluded with a ‘Clapping Exercise’ which we eagerly awaited partly because it was very enjoyable and mostly because it brought to a close boring exercises in the hot sun.
But when is this expression forgotten? Growing up, I have attended several live performances where the audience, including me, hardly clapped. When performances are viewed by children, the clapping is so spontaneous and vigorous, that they have to be told to stop because the next group is waiting in the wings. The adult audience is too lazy, bored or tired to clap so vigorously. I remember watching a play by a foreign troupe, where the anchor lightly remarked that Indian audiences have to be told to clap. I also recall many school functions where the parents have to be often persuaded, “Please put your hands together”.
One of my yoga teachers used to instruct us to clap 10 times at the end of a session. When someone asked her why this exercise, she said it has many health benefits. “Transvestites never fall ill”, she would say. Interesting observation, I thought. But how does one really know? Our contact with them is mostly at signals or at some wedding or such ceremonies. Otherwise, their lives are so secretive, who knows about their health or illness? Be that as it may, my friend’s post says –
“There are 39 different Acupressure points for almost all Organs on the palm which get activated by clapping. A daily 20-30 minutes of clapping cures back pain, neck pain, gout, low BP” and a host of other ailments.
It goes on to say that children who practise clapping daily make fewer spelling mistakes. I wish I had known this when I was an active teacher. I would have told students to clap instead of rewriting correct spellings many times. Be that as it may, I now clap 500 times daily in our Senior Citizens’ laughter club. It makes us happy. As the song goes, “If you are happy and you know it and you really want to show it, clap your hands….”.
P.S. the reader can also clap for this blog.

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