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Vol. XXVIII No. 3, May 16-31, 2018

A ’laughologist’s’ way to middle class happiness

by S.R. Madhu

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It is not just funny, but outrageously, hilariously funny. Dr. G. Lakshmipathi, the Coimbatore-based doctor (a specialist in internal medicine) has just turned out another humour book, his sixth, this one titled How to be middle class and happy.

Why the focus on the middle class? Lakshmipathi says the middle class is the one best-equipped to enjoy life – because of its education, range of interests and social skills. But it faces many irritants and little challenges in daily living.

His book offers remedies for some 40 “challenges” faced by the middle class – such as “How to shave”, “How to avoid boring people”, “How to tell a joke”, “How to avoid doctors”, “How to travel by auto-rickshaw”, “How to write an autobiography”. He says that for several challenges or irritants, there are no clear solutions. You just have to laugh them off.

In a foreword to the book, Dr. Shashi Tharoor says “The eclectic list of light-hearted suggestions the book provides ranges from the absurd to the macabre.” Says cricketer V.V.S. Laxman “This doctor approaches every peeve with the enthusiasm of a schoolboy on his first visit to an ODI at Wankhede stadium. Reading it is like watching an imaginary IPL final over. If you believe laughter is the best medicine, just read the book.”

A spry 83, Dr. Lakshmipathi is awesomely well-qualified (MD, FRCP and FICP), and has to his credit two highly regarded medical books and six humour books, hundreds of loyal patients and a couple of awards. He has practised in Coimbatore for more than 50 years and taught medicine for over 30 years. But he began life in Chennai and is a self-confessed Mylapore chauvinist. “This place has inspired so many great humorists – S.S. Vasan, Kothamangalam Subbu, S.V. Sekhar, Cho, Devan, Crazy Mohan, Kathadi Ramamurthy!” he remarks. Why is this so? “Perhaps because Mylapore has been a centre of excellence in so many disciplines – medicine, literature, law, journalism, music. All of these are fertile grounds for humour.”

Dr. Lakshmipathi describes himself as a “laughologist”. But he practises four professions. He is a physician to patients who think experience is equal to wisdom; he teaches medicine to students who think aging is the same as knowledge; he speaks to audiences who think verbosity is profundity; and he writes humour books for readers who think that borrowing a book is the same as buying one!

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What he offers through his books is giggle therapy.

Here are a few quotes from Dr. Lakshmipathi and his book:

Men are very proud of their sense of humour. A man may confess to wearing a wig, having dentures, cheating on tax or poisoning his boss, but he will never accept any deficiency in his sense of humour. It is vital to his self-confidence.

To avoid stress, Pat a pet. Preferably animal. If human, get prior approval from the legal caretaker.

Don’t get nervous over minor ailments. My grandmother always said: If your time has not come, even your doctor cannot kill you.

Don’t fall in love with any nurse. A sponge bath is a nursing procedure and not a Tantra ritual with a hidden message. Catheterisation is not some ultimate sexual masochism. Any supervising ward sister can neuter you with one look or a drug any time she chooses.

If allopathy and homeopathy don’t help you, approach Lakshmipathi. Even if he fails, only Venkatachalapathi can help.

Don’t live to travel – or travel for a living, which is worse. That you breakfasted in Bucharest, belched in Berlin, lunched in London and purged in Pittsburgh impresses no one.

Some people write books on how to find happiness, and the sale of these books helps them find theirs.

Every wife should thank God every morning for NOT giving her the perfect husband. The perfect husband may be morally perfect but will be mortally boring. When friends confide to her about their inadequate husbands, she will have to remain silent. Very soon, she will have no friends. Who wants friends that adore their husbands?

Never treat any complaint from the wife with disdain. Do not comment on her changing shape. Keep admiring her glowing looks and blowing boobs. Adapt your sex drives to suit her.

As a policy, never irritate your mistress, tailor, neurosurgeon or hair stylist. Irritating any of them could have far-reaching consequences.

Never begin a talk saying you are going to tell a funny joke. Other jokers in the audience view this as a challenge and decide to look unusually severe.

You can insert a full Sanskrit quote while speaking to any audience anywhere in India. However inappropriate. Nobody will have a clue about what you mean. But desist from such quotes at sadhu sammelans or the like. They order their lunch in Sanskrit.

If you have an Indian driving licence, it only means that you have four limbs, you can walk without help, you can tell a clutch from an accelerator, and you have friends in the transport office.

We Indians as a people love a good cry… The Jews who are in a similar predicament have a wall in Jerusalem just for wailing. Elderly Australian Jews travel for 24 hours or more to Jerusalem just for a hearty 30-minute cry.

A good cry apparently rejuvenates an average Indian and sizable numbers who are below average as well…All India Radio had musicians specifically employed for producing gloomy music.

Women cry more often than men (six times as compared to 1.4 times a month) and for a longer time than men (six minutes as compared to a male’s one minute). Nowadays women cry much less, at least the younger women. They are a tougher lot and don’t seek male sympathy.

Adult Americans come in four popular sizes – large, extra-large, average and bantam. Occasionally, one meets a colossus built like a Mughal monument… Some are so massive that they look like the biggest man-made threat since the atom bomb.

For the cost of a bypass surgery in the US, you could buy a flat in Coimbatore and have your bypass too, with pretty nurses from Kottayam posted round the clock for your care and attention.

Years ago, a Delhi-Madras train journey used to take forever. So long in fact, that many women used to deliver babies during the journey. They were not even pregnant when they b’oarded the train.

If life is totally stress-free, we will all die of boredom.

At the recent release function, a member of the audience reminded Dr. Lakshmipathi, “More than 10 years ago, you felicitated me at my book-launch function.” The doctor responded, “I have stopped lying ever since.”

Dr. Lakshmipathi’s other humour books are Ha ha therapy, Delights of dementia, Dictionary of cynical medicine, Quotes therapy and Laughing through medical specialties. All these books are available from Amazon.

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  1. Vijayalaxmi Sukumaran says:

    Can we read your books on kindle ?

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