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July 10, 2009, 6:12 a.m.:  This was the first time that  Anagha  had ventured out on a morning walk to fetch packets of milk, thanks to her dear milkman who didn’t deliver them at home that morning! :-(   She had her ipod to give her company so it wasn’t a burden afterall! She was just walking past the Jalagam Vengal Rao Park, close to her place, when she saw a group of people, mostly senior citizens, in their shorts, standing in a circle and roaring with laughter. The very sight of them brought a smile on her face! :-)

After a few minutes, they started this amusing exercise again! They were in splits of laughter, all of a sudden. No prizes for guessing – these people were from a Laughter Club. They were a part of the ABC – Always Be Cheerful Laughter Club, which was founded about 12 years ago by Dr. Madan Kataria. It was coincidentally  the INTERNATIONAL HAPPINESS DAY! July 10th is celebrated as the International Happiness Day every year in a bid to spread joy and warmth around the globe.

The members of the ABC Laughter Club making merry! Credit: Candy Floss

The members of the ABC Laughter Club making merry! Credit: Candy Floss

Interestingly, St.Ann’s degree college for women, has a dress code on the occasion of this special day. So everyone was spotted in bright yellow dresses that day. The college’s Department of Psychology, headed by Dr. Mrs. Latha Subramanyam, organized a workshop on Hasya Yoga or the Laughter Therapy by a prominent Laughter Club in town, ABC Laughter club.  These men and women, who practice their laughter at JVN Park every morning, performed this Hasya Yoga demonstration. Needless to say, they rocked! Their programme was so full of fun and colour that made Annites proud of their college. :-P

All they did was stood quiet, as they watched all the students and burst into ripples of laughter, at the drop of a hat, flinging their hands high up in the air! Watching them, the lady ‘Hitler’ of the college, whom everybody dreads, also couldn’t help but bursting out! They taught them various kinds of laughter like the Lion Laughter, which they are into most of the time, startling all curious onlookers, the various pitches in which a person can laugh. Silent laughter, shameful laughter, clappy laughter and naughty or sarcastic laughter. All through the show, there were slogans like “Ek, do, teen, chaar, khulke hasiye baar baar!”, “Hoo hoo - ha ha ha”, high up in the air. While they were enacting the shameful kind of laughter, there was one guy in his mid thirties, who was hugging the pillar and giving his best! One couldn’t take their eyes off him! ;-)

The posters on the smile-o-meter put up on the college notice board! Credit: Candy Floss

The posters on the smile-o-meter put up on the college notice board! Credit: Candy Floss

On the informative end, Shireen Panjwani, the President of the ABC Club declared, “Laughter is indeed the tonic, the relief and the surcease for a pain”. “I’m glad that the World Health Organization has come up with an International Happiness Day and we’re all a part of the celebrations! Such a day should definitely be red marked on the calendars and should be celebrated with as much pomp and splendor as the Friendship Day, Mothers’ Day or Valentine’s Day!” adds Deeksha, one of the students, who attended the workshop and benefited from it thoroughly!

Special gifts of appreciation in the form of ‘Laughing Buddhas’ were given to all the members of the Club, which happened to have many youngsters too! Ask Nisha, a final year student pursuing her Biotechnology course, if she is really impressed by the activities of this Club and pat comes the reply, “Ofcourse! I’m totally fida over these guys and would immediately sign up for the Club. Afterall, life is to be lived KING SIZE!”

Such clubs are on the rise worldwide since they are the only solutions to the various predicaments of life. Laughter relaxes the mind, body and soul and makes us leave all our tensions and stress filled lives behind. Such clubs attract people of all age groups and are a hit, especially with the youngsters since GenY these days have a hectic life balancing their academics, part time jobs, careers and relationships! Dr. G. Prasad Rao, M.D (Psychiatry), FIPS, FIASP, a leading Consultant Neuro Psychiatrist in the city quips, “Patients visit my clinic due to various kinds of depressions arising from the ongoing recession, peer pressure, competition, monotonous and westernized lifestyle and the best advice that I give them is to be content and cheerful in life which can be achieved by practicing Pranayama and meditation, rendering one’s physical and mental well being”.

A Laughing Buddha to tickle your funny bone! Credit: Candy Floss

A Laughing Buddha to tickle your funny bone! Credit: Candy Floss

No wonder girls are instantly smitten and go ga-ga over guys having a very good sense of humor! Point to be noted guys! ;-)  The very reason why comedy shows like F.R.I.E.N.D.S., The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and The Great Indian Laughter Champions are a rage among the audiences and keep making comebacks is reason enough to state that humor plays an integral part of our lives. Well, it’s another issue that most of us continue to watch cartoons like Tom and Jerry and read comics like Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield, even till date! While talking about humor and laughter, it would almost be impossible to keep comedy greats like Charlie Chaplin, Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) and Johnny Lever at bay! Comedy kings like Charlie Chaplin, who once rightly quoted, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot!” and Brahmanandam, who holds various Guinness World Records for their comedy timing and splendid performances definitely deserve a thunderous applause and a special mention. Many of the recent flicks have also adopted comedy as a genre and the actors have also stood out in spite of some of them being newcomers – be it Saif Ali Khan of Dil Chahtha Hai or Kal Ho Naa Ho, Vinay Pathak of Bheja Fry, Govinda of Partner and Bhagam Bhag, Paresh Rawal of Hera Pheri, Akshay Kumar of Singh is Kinng, Venkatesh of Malleshwari or even Nikhil of Happy Days – they all have managed to steal the show and leave the audiences craving for more!

After the workshop,  with refreshed minds, students of St. Ann’s decided that they would add ‘laughter’ to be one of the important components of their life and pledged that they would definitely spread joy and love around them and brighten up others’ lives. Afterall, “A smile is a curve that sets things straight”, isn’t it? At the end of the day, they all went home happy! :-)

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2 Responses to “St. Ann’s celebrates International Happiness Day: On a Roll!”

  1. Satish Mantha says:

    :-) nice post and message. happiness — nothing else matters!

  2. Meghali Ghosh says:

    very well written…it took me back to that wonderful day filled with laughter!!!:)

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