A TRAGIC TRYST WITH THE LAUGHTER CLUB
I was talking to my friend on the phone and when he asked “Hey!! Do you like Koffee with Karan?” I paused for a while and replied “No!! I only like coffee with sugar.” He was irritated and felt very bad that he cannot hit me through the phone for that joke. I didn’t leave him but continued “Hey!! Yesterday I went to the video shop and asked if I can take BATMAN FOREVER?” for that he replied “No sir!! You have to return it tomorrow.” Being a nice guy he controlled his temper and advised me using a soft tone. “If you try to use these jokes on the stage once you become a Stand Up Comedian, audience will pelt you so much that YOU cannot even STAND UP. Actually you can look for some good comedy clubs in Bangalore and become a member. It will not only help you hone your humor but also help you get contacts for your first stand up comedy show.” For the first time I really felt some non - “non sense” in what he said.
The next day I changed from Praveen Kumar to Praveen Research Kumar. I tried all possible media and got some handful of phone numbers of what they called Laughter Clubs. I tried calling one by one and was really impressed with one of the contact’s caller tone which was a laughing sound of a baby. I was thinking of how symbolic that laughter club member was. One old lady picked up the call and started talking without even waiting for a HELLO from me. This is how the conversation went.
She: Hello!! My name is Sangeetha Baskar. I am one of the oldest members of Malleshwaram laughter club. Laughter is the best medicine. You see, I have never been to a doctor till now.
Me: Hello!! I am Praveen. I want to know if you have a branch in Koramangala.
She: Ok!! But you have to wait for couple of days to meet him as he is not in station.
Me: (Confused) actually madam I wanted to know if there is a branch of your laughter club in Koramangala.
She: Oh!! Tell that clearly. Try to talk properly like this. Yes.. Yes..Baskar is my husband’s name.
I hung up. After so many calls, I somehow managed to catch hold of someone who guided me properly to Jayanagar laughter club and asked me to join on Jan 1, 2009 as they were having a New year party at one of the member’s house.
Date: Jan 1, 2009
I along with Raji somehow managed to find that Gentleman's house. We could clearly make out that they have arranged for a grand New Year party. I was all excited to get in and the gentleman I spoke over the phone welcomed us in. But my excitement started slowing down like a train approaching a station once I entered. I went out again and looked for a board that says HOME FOR THE AGED. There were about 60 members and trust me none of them was younger than 60. The only thing which was common between them and me is my baldness. (But there was a guy who must certainly be over 75 with hairs touching his shoulders and sometimes my shoulders when he crossed me. I ignored him) May be that's why they welcomed me with open arms. They looked at us and treated us like we were new born babies in a caesarian section. But I should definitely appreciate their hospitality. First they served samosa and cutlet which was followed by fruit salad. The way they took care of us merely put the staff nurses of that caesarian section to shame. But one of them asked me “Is that your daughter who has come with you?”
I happened to talk to one of the elderly members rather one of the members about their daily routine at the laughter club. He said that they will assemble at a park at 6 30 in the morning. Oh My GOD… that is midnight for me. (I have seen SUNRISE only on the cover of a coffee powder). He continued "Then all of us will do yoga for 15 minutes and after that we will clap hands for 15 minutes". I was still waiting for the jokes and humor part of it. I asked "Then??" He said "We will go home!! If you want you can stay back in the park and do some walking." I asked "Don't you guys share jokes and perform some shows on stage??" His eyes became dull and said "Yeah!! We do… may be we will share a couple of jokes once a month" (Amazing frequency!!) This is not the kind of club I was looking for. I wanted to escape from that place as quickly as possible. But their kindness won over my thoughts of escapism. They locked the main gate from inside which made the less chance of us escaping still lesser. They forced us to have dinner and said there were games arranged for the evening and do you think we had any other option?
All 60 of us sat in a circle and started playing “PASSING THE PARCEL”. The object they used for passing was an apple. They were all so slow that by that time I got the apple, all of them were out and the apple was also rotten. They declared me to be the winner of the evening extravaganza. They announced that I would be getting the prize from one of the oldest Laughter Club members and her name was Sangeetha Baskar. One more shock for the day. I ran towards her and pulled the prize from her hand and ran back to my seat before she started talking. When I opened the prize I saw a WALKING STICK. It was getting three much and both of us grew restless. When we were on our mission of looking here and there for even a tiniest of places to escape, we noticed a small gate which was not locked. We fled from that place breaking all the records of 100m running. We reached our bike and was about to start. Just then my bike wouldn’t start and it was so adamant. Actually, my bike has got gas problem. The petrol tank cap has to be opened and closed for it to start. TVS claims that it is a six sigma company which means only 3 defected pieces among 1 million. I don’t know if I should be proud or sad to declare that my bike is one amongst the three.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A TRAGIC TRYST WITH THE LAUGHTER CLUB
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Bangalore experienced a steep 100 % increase in 2007 from 2000 not in the number of IT companies started or in the number of saplings planted but in the number of casualties in road accidents. There are so many reasons for this like the increase in population in a relatively smaller city, purchasing power of the citizens (every fourth person owns a car), drunken driving, careless and haphazard driving. You cannot tell anyone that you will reach your destination on time due to the atrocious traffic the city is experiencing.
The two main culprits for these terrible traffic jams are the buses and autos. The buses during the peak time will overwhelmingly be full that the passengers inside cannot even move more than one part of their body at the same time. The driver also drives the bus as if he was born as an intoxicated snake in his previous birth. You cannot go behind a bus for a long time; it will take an unexpected turn towards any direction or would come to an anticipated halt in an unanticipated location. Even if you try to overtake the bus there are numerous chances of getting your shirt painted with red by someone in the bus spitting pan with the acutest of the aims. I think the concept of Red Bus started after this only.
Next comes the 3 wheeler devil which can neither be considered as a bike nor as a car. Please be prepared to expect the unexpected if you are traveling alongside an auto and you will “auto”matically go mad. It can run in any of the unimaginable conditions; bad roads, wet roads, no roads etc. I can bet my appendix that no one would have seen any auto standing far behind a red signal. They will do something or the other to go to the front; be it riding on the foot path or on the pedestrians’ foot itself. I was told that to be an auto driver you should have at least 5 years of experience in any well known Circus.
I know a person who used to get stuck in the traffic and wait on the road for hours who decided to spend time usefully by solving Sudoku puzzles and now he is the South Zone Champion. The footpath on the road in Bangalore is strictly meant for 2 wheelers; the pedestrians can go to hell. If you buy a new bike and happen to ride on a pavement on which they sell lemons, you can conduct the puja for your bike instantly by crushing a couple of them. One day I wanted to do some shopping and before that I had to get my bike’s brake repaired and started my journey from home. First I went to a mechanic who after inspecting my bike said that he cannot repair the brakes and hence will make my horn louder. Non sense fellow. I wanted to do some shopping in an Electronics showroom and it took me about 2 hours to reach that place. Thanks to this Bangalore traffic. By the time I reached that place I was so confused that instead of going to the Electronics Showroom I went to a temple because of the board I saw on the showroom – “NEXT”.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
POKIA - Poking People
It doesn’t vibrate – it just pokes
Scene 1 (MAHABHARATH)
(Dushadana is trying to remove Draupadi’s saree and other Kauravas are enjoying)
Draupadi: Oh!! God!! Please save me… Krishna you are the only one who can save me. Please!!!!
Dushadana: Hahahaha!! You stupid woman!! Don’t you know that Krishna has taken LTA and has gone to his native place Mathura???
Draupadi: So what? I will try to reach him on his mobile….(Takes her mobile and tries to call Krishna) Oh Heavens!! His line is busy… I only hope he sees Call Waiting and calls back
(On the other side of the stage)
Krishna: Hi Radha sweetie!!!! Don’t worry darling I will take you to Barista this evening and buy you a Café Latte and from there we will go to FASHION. I will buy you all the clothes worn by Priyanka Chopra in the movie. No!! No!! I wont take Bama to the movie. I will buy her a pirated DVD and ask her to watch it at home.. Theek Hai??
Draupadi: This is 3 much!! He is not calling back. Let me try calling on his POKIA phone. (Calls him)
(Pokia phone pokes him so much that he had to cut Radha’s call to take Draupadi’s)
Krishna: Yeah Draupadi tell me.
Draupadi: (Music)…………………………. This is what happened. Now I don’t know what you will do. Get me a saree now and save me… make sure it’s a Printed Silk Saree.
Krishna: I am terribly sorry Draupadi!! There are no stocks of sarees in Mathura now. I have gifted everything to my girlfriends and wives. That’s the problem of having too many. Anyways, can I send you a chudidhar that too without a dupatta?
Draupadi: Krishna, you playboy!! Its ok send me anything, even if it is jeans or T shirt or shorts, its ok with me. Please send it at the earliest may be through Blue Tooth!!!!
(Krishna sends it)
Draupadi: Thank you Krishna!! Thank you Pokia!!
Pokia - Saving People
Scene II (MAHABHARATH AGAIN)
(A fierce battle is on between Karna and Arjuna)
Arjuna: KARNA!!! Tumko kya KARNA????
Karna: You stupid Arjuna!! Let me kill you with this Vishnu Astra…. (Prays and sends the Astra which doesn’t even go near Arjuna) Sorry.. I have been operated because of Cataract problem.
Arjuna: You blind fox.. let me use the VAYU ASTRA!!!
(He bends and FARTS (vayu astra))
Karna: (Unable to tolerate the smell) You indecent fellow Arjuna!! What did you have for breakfast?? Let me use a modern astra….(Does some action that resembles like a car and sends it)
Arjuna: What’s that??
Karna: That’s OPEL ASTRA
Arjuna: Non sense fellow!! How do I kill you???? Yeah now I have an idea. (Takes his Pokia phone and sends it)
(Pokia Astra pokes Karna to death)
Pokia – Killing People
THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW POKIA SAVED MAHABHARATH
Scene III (RAMAYANA)
(Kumbakarna is sleeping and everyone is trying to wake him up)
Person 1 : Kumbakarna!! Kumbakarna!! You know what your beloved brother Ravana has been killed in the war…..
Kumbakarna: (Not a bit bothered).. So What! (Goes back to sleep)
Person 2: Kumbakarna!! Bipasha Basu has come to meet you and that too in Saawariya style.
Kumbakarna: (No reaction)…(Snoring away to glory)
Person 3: Hello Mister!! I have brought food for you!
Kumbakarna: (slightly opening his eyes) From where??
Person 3: From Ocwen Canteen!!
Kumbakarna: I would prefer to sleep than to even look at that food.
Person 4: Let me try using a new technique!! I will call him on his Pokia phone. (Calls him)
(Pokia phone pokes Kumbakarna so much that he woke up and got ready for the war)
Pokia – Waking People
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The company's name is derived from the reverse of NEWCO
Where there is no space for us to play KHOKHO
We are into loan servicing and fulfillment of MORTGAGE
The office is about 5 kms from the home for OLD AGE
Even though the world’s economy is DOWN
They haven’t sent us back to our TOWN
We find it hard to work in between the BREAKS
And won’t take leave on Friday to attack the CAKES
On the 7th floor is the most interesting element called CARROM
Which is as addictive as Whiskey, Brandy & RUM
We are frequent visitors to our next door neighbor, STAR BAZAAR
I don’t know why the look their employees give us is so BIZARRE
Together as a group we have loads of fun and FROLIC
Sometimes causing utter nuisance to the PUBLIC
Usually the grub is horrible and awful in the CANTEEN
If we add one to Twelve it becomes THIRTEEN
Even our pantry is equally worse with its terrible TEA
I guess the management won’t show us any PITY
All said and done I have wonderful set of COLLEAGUES
Who are as exciting as Indian Premier LEAGUES
Thursday, November 20, 2008
En Route to Paris with Jai
I simply cannot forget my Paris trip especially the flight journey with 17 other classmates of mine. We were supposed to do a two week project in France as part of our MBA curriculum. All of us assembled at the airport along with our parents/guardians who had come to see us off. There was this guy with us by name Jai, a typical innocent villager who was traveling in the flight for the first time. He was accompanied by his dad, mom, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, 2nd cousin, dad’s 2nd cousin and 22 others. In short, his whole village had come to see him off and the airport was so crowded that the authorities planned to put a House Full board outside which thoroughly confused the other flights set to land.
Jai was scared to death to travel in flight and at that time one of his relatives said “Yesterday I read in the newspaper that a flight was hijacked and all the passengers were held hostages!!” and Jai’s fear quadrupled. All 18 of us went inside to check in and the counters were so far off that I thought we need a chartered flight inside to reach our respective counters. Jai weighed over 250 pounds and his baggage weighed exactly double. He was asked to remove all unwanted stuff and he had no other option but to let go off the pressure cooker, food processor, 10 pounds of rice, and mini refrigerator filled with toffees.
After all the formalities, we were inside the flight and unfortunately my seat was next to Jai’s. He was so big that even Bill Gates would become poor paying for his liposuction. He found it very difficult to wear his seat belt in spite of being a green belt in Six Sigma. The flight attendant had to rope in 3 more meters of belt to fir Jai inside. Jai was praying sincerely that his journey should be safe and sound. He was not sure if it would be safe but it was definitely sound. A 3 year old baby boy cried at his full pitch which synchronized with the ignition sound. After a couple of minutes that boy was pacified by his mom and stopped crying yet I kept hearing crying sound. That was our big man crying sitting next to me and praying at the same time. Just then, we heard an announcement from the captain “WELCOME ON BOARD LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! THANK YOU FOR FLYING XYZ AIRLINES AND IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE. OH MY GOD”. Silence followed for about 5 minutes and all the passenger’s hearts were in their mouths. The announcement continued “I AM SORRY, WHEN I WAS TALKING TO ALL OF YOU THE ATTENDANT SPILLED SOME COFFEE ON MY TROUSERS. HA HA HA. NOW YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THE FRONT OF MY TROUSERS”. I was telling myself, “Now you should look at the back of Jai’s trousers!!”
Jai suddenly got excited and called me to tell that his great grand father once told him that people will look like ants when you are in flight and how true it was. I blamed my destiny for sitting next to him and told him that they are actual ants and we haven’t taken off and still in runway. Finally, the flight took off and within few minutes we were 35000 feet above the sea level. By that time Jai was also out of the fear and was enjoying his journey. He wanted to start off with his obsession, passion, fascination, ambition – EATING. He kept calling the flight attendant so many times and the ring of the bell that calls the attendant was so frequent that it reminded of a telephone ring. He had breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snacks together at the same time as an appetizer. Then Jai started off with his second obsession, passion, fascination, ambition – SLEEPING. I thought I would be relieved of all his troubles while he sleeps. But the kind of person he is, he didn’t let me be in peace by his Electric Motor Simulated SNORING. He snored so much that the pilot thought there was some problem with the engine and double checked before continuing. All the passengers in the flight except Jai forgot the meaning of sleeping. Finally we reached Paris and all of us were ready to get out of the flight and Jai was still sleeping. All of us including the pilot were trying to wake Jai up and he wouldn’t budge. Then we almost emptied the Pacific Ocean by throwing liters and liters of water on him and he woke up and asked “IS IT RAINING? I FELT FEW DROPS FALLING ON ME”. I simply pitied the condition of the French people who were going to undergo the after effects of a massive virus entry into their Homeland. I got to find out after reaching Paris that the entire crew of our flight resigned after landing.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I know it is way too late to write about Diwali but I wanted to pen down my experience now as the next Diwali is also fast approaching. This was my first Diwali after marriage and it really was very special. We went to Raji’s parents’ house to spend DIW (first part of Diwali!!) I always maintain distance with their pet dog Chintu, a Lhasa apso as both of us are scared of each other. He has so much hair that would even cover his eyes and one day I incidentally mistook him to be my towel and lifted him just to feel his teeth impression on my hand with a profound pain. Amongst all his duties, he would never forget to make me feel jealous by coming near me and quiver his body which will make all his hair to move in all directions and go back with a sense of achievement.
I woke up early in the morning, took oil bath, wore new clothes and was all set for a festival to begin. My FIL had already bought some crackers for me to burst and I did some justice to that. I was fascinatingly bursting crackers after about 15 years. 2000 and 5000 wala were the two to begin with. The later started in the morning and didn’t stop until noon. Chintu was scared to death at the sound of the crackers like any of his fellow beings. Knowing that I was the reason for the continuous sound for about 3 hours, he got even angrier at me and this time his quiver near me was much more powerful than before.
My MIL is a wonderful cook and the afternoon lunch was splendid with all the items of Ponnuswamy present on the plate except for the bill. From mutton biriyani to fish fry and from chilly chicken to prawns fry everything was there and after eating my plate was looking like Kurukshetra Warfield. We relished the food, took some deserving rest and proceeded to Kancheepuram in the evening. The road in which my in-law’s house was located underwent some repair and the hole the corporation dug was nastily closed. It resembled a small mountain and when my FIL’s car crossed that there was a loud scratching sound from beneath the car. That small mountain left a deep scar on the car as well as on my FIL’s heart. His HONDA CITY was subjected to CHENNAI CITY’S ATROCITY. .
I got so interested in bursting crackers especially the ones which go upwards and burst in the midst of the air with lots of colors. On the way we thought we will buy some to burst in my house for the evening and went to a shop. There were lots of new varieties of crackers and I really felt historic in that place. The shopkeeper introduced me to various new products like Abdul Kalam fire works which sends the rocket straight to the space and sometimes to the moon. There was Bipasha Basu rocket which goes up removes all its covers and then would burst and I was so surprised to see Sreesanth bomb which would be there in next day’s newspaper however it bursts. We selected a few and went home. Ali (Second part of Diwali) was with my parents in Kancheepuram which was equally great. New crackers, great food and Boring TV programs continued in the temple town as well.
I cannot forget this Diwali for one more important event which happened the previous evening. I met my role model, idol and icon – Crazy Mohan. We went to his play “Chocolate Krishna” after which I and Raji had a wonderful chance to meet him. He was such a down to earth person who readily agreed to pose for us inspite of being very busy in packing all the drama stuff. Special thanks to my FIL to make this happen. See attached photo.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
GRADUATION DAY SPEECH
The following will be an imaginary speech for the college students on their Graduation Day.
Good Evening boys and girls!! It’s a great honor for me to address the energetic, ever naughty, mischievous, trend setting and a fashion crazy set of wonderful students. I thank the management for giving me the opportunity and at the same time really pity them for the grave mistake they have done by asking me to address you.
The reason I called you all Trend Setters is because of our people’s taste. They will blindly follow the college students. I remember when I was a student one day when we were working in the chemistry lab; some chemical fell on my friend’s jeans. When we tried to help him by cleaning it with some cloth, the color of the jeans near the thighs also sincerely came off along with the chemical. Then everybody started following that and it’s now called Faded Jeans. My other friend when he was going alone in the street, a couple of mad dogs chased him, bit him all over and his jeans was torn near the knees and now it’s a fashion. Nowadays people are ready to pay more for faded and torn jeans than for the normal ones.
The other common qualities of you all are that you don’t eat well. It holds good mostly for girls because they don’t eat well to maintain their figures. When I look at the girls out here, I have to keep telling myself that I am in a college not in an elementary school. You are all so skinny that you can even dodge raindrops. Please start eating well. When we were in college, our college girls didn’t pay so much attention to their figures and they ate reasonably well. One of the girls was so fat that when she fell in love, it broke.
Please start sleeping well as well. I know a college student who didn’t sleep one night as he had gone for a party. The next day he went to college in a drowsy state and went to Physics class instead of Economics. The professor was teaching about Atomic Fusion and Nuclear Fusion and this guy was left with only one fusion – Confusion.
I know the economic conditions are bad now for getting a job. Finding a job nowadays is like finding Tropicana in Tropic of Cancer. But I am sure you guys are capable of finding a wonderful job for yourselves. Please be confidant and you would definitely grow up in life. I once again thank the management and the teachers for giving me the opportunity to address all of you. You have been a wonderful audience. Eat well, Sleep well and LAUGH well. Thank you.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I am really excited and acutely animated to visit my hometown Kancheepuram for Deepavali after almost 3 months. This temple town has grown rapidly like a Complan kid for the past 5 years. Right from the standard of living to the cost of living everything has gone up. There are supermarkets, car showrooms, branded garments, good restaurants, foreign goods etc. There is nothing that we don’t have in Kancheepuram now except for the Statue of Liberty.
When it comes to people and their way of dressing, the town has seen a radical change. When I was young, I remember going to Chennai to buy clothes for festivals. That was largely because of the kind of garments available in the town and the taste of the inmates. They used to wear such bright shirts that would even affect the eyes of a blind man. The colors range from cotton candy color, bright yellow to all 7 rainbow colors in one. You cannot look into one shirt for more than a minute. When you walk on the roads during festival times, you’d require a sunglass to protect your eye. Even Color TVs in Kancheepuram came in Bright Pink, Bright green colors those days.
Shopping was one of the nightmares those days. There was no concept of supermarket or malls. If we get onions and tomatoes in the same shop, that is called the Supermarket. The only mall the inmates knew those days was GOL MALL. Nobody heard of home delivery of provisions and I remember the first time when it was introduced everybody started asking if it would be normal delivery or caesarian. Nowadays if you pay more, the provisions is not only getting home delivered, but they help in stacking it in the containers and very soon the time will come that they will cook, feed us and then leave I guess.
The girls in Kancheepuram were so not worried about their looks that it would reflect in their way of dressing. Their size would be 36-24-36 and that would be only for LEFT ARM. They used to be so fat that Government gave them a separate pin code. Their IQ level would be much less than their waist line. According to them Sherlock Holmes would be some Housing Project and Tiger Woods would be a thick forest in Africa. They were not interested in anything else other than gossiping. They had wonderful Sense of Rumor. But now, the trend has completely changed and the girls in Kancheepuram are scoring much more than guys in all the exams and they are getting more modern these days. They have started wearing clothes which start late and end early.
Even though there are changes in all coordinates, the nature of the people was, is and will be very good. They are so good natured that it would put heroes of Indian cinema to shame. There are certain things which will not be available in a city but only in a town. That is a different feeling altogether and should definitely be experienced to appreciate that. EAST OR WEST Kancheepuram is the BEST.