Friday, August 12, 2011

That's What You Get for being Happy. And for Laughing Your Arse Off.

"Une, barasan ka dn,"   my mother would warn me every time she'd see me laughing like a crazy person on the street. Her warning can be loosely translated as "Stop laughing like a mental hospital patient. Otherwise, something bad is going to happen to you in exchange for the happiness/light moment you're indulging in right now." Okay, so that translation is a wee bit exaggerated but that's what it essentially means.

I don't think there's an English equivalent of the concept of baras. So let me explain it in the best way I can.

Baras is a "bad happening" that one gets into after a happy moment. Or as my mother would warn, after a lengthy laughing spree, if there's such a thing. It's rooted in the belief that happiness  will later on be replaced by, well, misery. It's rooted in the belief that when one laughs too much, he or she will end up crying later on. That baras is a superstitious belief--I have no idea. Because as much as I would like to believe that it is, it never fails to reach me. All the time. Like this morning.

I woke up feeling great. I wasn't sure why. Maybe because before I went to Sleepyland, I had an hour of stress-busting guffaw session with my best friend. Or it might be because I got eight (8) hours of sleep, coupled with the fact that I was able to finally write finis my pleading due on Thursday. (You must be wondering why I seem to be making a big deal out of getting full eight (8) hours of sleep. But you must understand that it's become a rarity for me since I started law school.) So I went to work feeling very positive about the day. I was thinking it's going to be a productive day at work. Then, minutes after I sat on my chair, my boss asked me about the pleading that was due that very day. I said I sent it already to the secretaries for formatting and to my senior lawyer for review. And then I was told that it was supposed to be brought up to the Chief for review! So that means I should have been done with it eight days before and should have elevated it to the Chief immediately!

God knows I had NO IDEA that comments to be filed with the Supreme Court are subject to the Chief's review. Had I known that, I would've worked faster on the case, even if it means compromising the quality of the pleading. I could have stayed focused and tried not to let my personal problems distract me a bit. *le sigh*

I wasn't scolded or anything (in all fairness to my boss, who's genuinely one of the nicest persons I've ever met in my entire life) but I just felt so bad about myself. How could I not know? Seriously, I was so tempted to do a Christopher Lao and indignantly say, "I should have been informed!" But of course, that's not the responsible way to handle the situation. After all, the case was delegated to me and thus should have been informed, err, should have inquired about the internal rules applicable to it. I felt so incompetent, unreliable and irresponsible. I CRIED. =(

Oway, biarasan ako. (Yes, I received baras [see above explanation] for laughing heartily the night before and for feeling positive about the day ahead.)

I'm not sure if it was just coincidence or baras. Either way, I'm reluctantly starting to believe that baras is indeed real and not just some superstitious belief that Maranaos hold. Maybe it's not superstition at all. Maybe it's really one of the unwritten universal laws that we witness taking place in reality but refuse to believe in because we just can't understand the philosophy behind it. I mean, why would we be punished for feeling happy? For laughing? Isn't that what the universe--or God--wants for us? To be happy and positive all the time, even amidst chaos and tragedy?

I may appear so backward-thinking but, yes, I'm starting to believe in baras. It's manifested itself to me several times already. This morning was just one of those several times. And it my sound stupid but I don't want to be happy anymore. Or laugh as much as I want  to and used to. I'd rather have a normal, boring, crappy day without having to expect an adverse consequence subsequently. Maybe when something or someone makes me happy, I'd change my mind about this. But for now, this is my stand. 

There, Universe. You can suck out all the happiness in me and happy days in my life. Just leave me alone. I hope you're happy.



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  2. Reminds me of how my friend and I would laugh and laugh while studying then later get called for a recit, and there was no decent answer to be had. a perfect example of a baras!

    Maybe it's just coincidence. :) The world, with all city riots, bad politics and so much hunger going on, should allow a little piece of blue sky. My ex once told me, "The world is a cruel place. So if anything makes you happy, hold on tight to it. Never let it go."

    Don't let the baras stop you from laughing or being happy. We're entitled to that bit of happiness. Hugs!