Friday, September 7, 2012

Ha Ha Therapy - Dr. G. Lakshmipathi

Read this hilarious book (Rs.300, 289 pages) by Dr. Lakshmipathi, M.D., F.R.C.P., F.I.C.P, a practicing doctor and consultant of Internal Medicine and Cardiology in Coimbatore and the author of a few more books. My friend Rags (a.k.a. Raghavendra Prasad) recommended this book to me several moons ago and even promised to get me a copy saying that this was the funniest book he had read. But he could not get a copy because it is perhaps not as widely distributed as regular books. Guess where I got it - my good doctor S. Krishnan gave it to me when I visited him last and I must agree with Rags that it is one of the most amusing books I have read from an Indian author.

With a foreword from Khushwant Singh and witty jokes, quotes and sayings all over 'Ha Ha Therapy' is a book that pokes fun at all that is concerned with medicine and healing and therapy. Dr. Lakshmipathi spares no one - not the least his patients (names changed), alternative medicine, various therapies that are available, symptoms, their treatments, doctors, their idiosyncracies, various sicknesses real and imagined, and even death, in the most irreverent, witty and funny manner. From acupuncture to homeopathy, backache to constipation, gas to Kamasutra, music therapy to old age, he has a take on everything. An absolute delight in every way and if you ask me, more entertaining than some of the stuff that Khushwant Singh comes up with.

Dr. Lakshmipathi's humour is of a sophisticated nature - subtle, complete and intelligent. His use of the language, his punnery, his irreverence, his tone and the complete hopelessness of the medical situation dawns on the reader as we look at one patient after another, one therapy after another, and soon realise that all we can do is laugh about it and loud. At a deep level it is also philosophical as he pretty much laughs at everything - life and death - and its a good way to view life. Funnily another Lakshmipathy (rather Lakshmi Venkatapathy Raju) my old friend and Indian Test cricketer told me the same thing today. 'I wish people just don't take everything to heart and get too involved and emotional and instead enjoy themselves,' he said after a couple of hours of rip roaring laughter from his many jokes and imitations. What is it with the Lakshmipathys and this funny bone?

What makes this book all the more interesting and valuable is that apart form making the reader laugh, it also makes the reader aware of symptoms and diseases, with some great information about illnesses and treatment, and certainly eases the furrow from the brow - one way or another. A fantastic attempt and perhaps the first of its kind for the content, the humour (and the outcome for the reader especially if he or she is a patient suffering from one of the illnesses). I agree with Rags that this is a book that goes high up there in Indian humour writing. (And in sophisticated humour writing, it certainly goes pretty high up.) Great work  Dr. Lakshmipathi and I hope you write many more such books. Also, a big thanks is owed to D. Krishnan for lending me this book. Must read for all those who love humour. Contact Nama Publications, 7, Bharathi Park Cross, Road No. 3, Coimbatore - 641 043. Tel-0422-2455191 or email at for your copy.

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