Saturday, April 11, 2020

J for Jest - My favourite things to counter COVID-19 stress

(This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. I am writing this month on activities that keep me refreshed during these depressing days. It's Day 10 today.)


When I think of humour what comes to my mind first is the Reader's Digest, the monthly magazine once upon a time very popular all over the world. It had wonderfully edited condensed articles from magazines around the world, and a book section that had a long extract from a book. (The magazine is still around, but I am not sure how popular it is now.)

However, what my friends and I always looked forward to were sections like 'Humour in Uniform' 'Life is Like That' and 'All in a Day's Work', apart from short, light-hearted fillers at the end of each article.

These sections comprised anecdotes that packed in them an unmatched level of humour that made the heart lighter and infused a huge amount of positivity to the mind. There are a few bound volumes of old copies at home, which I go back to, to refresh myself!

Another childhood memory associated with humour is movies of Laurel and Hardy [Music Box, which won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short (Comedy) in 1932] and Charlie Chaplin (the YouTube channel).

Their films used to be screened using a 16-mm projector in Sainik School, Kazhkootam, Kerala, where I studied. Needless to say, I keep watching them on YouTube. There is then, of course, Mr Bean (the YouTube channel).

There are now hundreds (or thousands?!) of stand-up comedians as well. Two of whom I watched live recently in Bengaluru are Papa C J (his YouTube channel) and Anuvab Pal (at The BBC New Year's Comedy Special).

18 comments:

  1. I love most of the books and titles you have enlisted here. Thank you for bringing back those nostalgic moments. Would catch up on some of these yet again.

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    1. Hi Jyoti - By the way, I am not able to see a link to your blog.

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  2. Hi Pradeep - yes we all need laughter don't we - even in serious times like these ... and there was the World War One "The Wiper's Times" - a trench magazine written at the front line in Ypres ...

    But I too love those ones you've mentioned - my childhood stalwarts ... and yes when I see a Reader's Digest magazine or book those snippets are wonderful ... all the best Hilary

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  3. I loved reading Readers's Digest. I used to read from cover to cover. I like George Carlin stand-up comedy. His Foodball vs Baseball and "stuff" are immortal.

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  4. Reader's Digest is the darling of the 80's and 90's generation, if I am not wrong. While growing up, I always dreamt of writing for REader's Digest.
    Its good to see that we are revisting old serials or favourite games that kept us busy as child! And it has given multiple opportunities to bond with children over some timeless classics!
    - Its J for "Jack of All Trades" at https://canvaswithrainbow.com/

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    1. Hi Anagha - Thanks for the visit and the comments.

      You are right ... These difficult times have given us an opportunity to bond together and rediscover many moments of happiness.

      As small suggestion to change the link to your website on Blogger profile page. It now takes you to your old Blogspot blog. You can replace it with the current one.

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  5. Oh yes, I remember the Readers' Digest. I loved the funnies as well and also the 'Increase your vocabulary' part, which was always a challenge.

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    1. Hi Vallypee - It used to be called 'Word Power' in the Indian edition. It was fun.

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  6. Hari Om
    Oh yes, we were a RD family too! Humour is such a personal thing so finding someone who tickles the fancy of many is quite something. We have a number of excellent comedians on our screens in the UK at the moment; and thankfully, quite diverse, culturally. YAM xx

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    1. Hi Yamini - Humour makes life easier, doesn't it?

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  7. I once covered a class that was watching an old Charlie Chaplin. I think many of the kiddos were surprised how entertaining they found it.

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  8. I too used to read these humor tidbits from RD years ago. I also liked the Tamil jokes in Ananda Vikadan magazine back then.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Hi Rajesh - Yes, Ananda Vikadan was very very popular.

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  9. I also used to read Reader's digest. When I was younger, we also had a subscription of Champak - my favorite magazine back then.

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  10. Love the different humor sections in Reader's Digest! These are the first things that I read in this magazine. Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, never fail to bring smiles. It's been a while I have seen their movies/clippings. I love the stand-up comedy ... there are quite a few good comics both in India as well.

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    1. Hi Shilpa - There are quite a few of Laurel and Hardy, and Chaplin movies on YouTube.

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