At 5:45 a.m. there was a knock at my door. Two laughter leaders greeted me with laughter - one held a coffee flask and other glasses. After a quick coffee we headed for the laughter club which starts 6:15am sharp.
The remarkable thing about laughter clubs in India is that they all start on time. In other matters we Indians are not good at keeping time. This makes me feel proud about laughter clubs. I hear some people in the neighborhoods now know it's 6.15 when they hear the ho ho ha ha ha.
There were 80 people in the laughter club, 50 women and 30 men. After the laughter session the laughter leader told me about one of their members. He came to laughter club depressed and on the verge of suicide, but laughter yoga gave him a new life. He was absent today because of a family function. I insisted on meeting him and he visited me at my guesthouse this afternoon.
Mr K N Radhakrishnaiah, now 61 years old, worked as an engineer with a government department in a small town near Bangalore called Alamatti. In 2002 colleagues framed him with false corruption charges.
He went into deep depression, lost interest in life and decided to commit suicide. In December 2002 he returned to his hometown of Bangalore and went for a walk in a park where he saw a group of people laughing. He joined their laughter yoga session and for the first time felt hope. With daily laughter yoga he recovered dramatically from his depression and within one month he stopped taking antidepressant medication.
He shared his emotions with laughter group members and with their support came out of depression. Soon afterwards his problem at work also resolved and he took his retirement.
He decided to start a laughter club in Alamatti in thanks for what laughter yoga had done for him. A group of laughter club leaders from Bangalore joined him to do public awareness seminars and they started three laughter clubs in the town.
Mr Radhakrishnaiah believes that laughter yoga gave him a new life, and decided to dedicate it to helping others through laughter. Today he spends most of his time helping people to open new laughter clubs in the region.
He is the main organizer for Karnataka State laughter yoga conference being held in December 2006.
Good luck, dear Mr Radhakrishnaiah.