"A day without laughter is a day wasted," said Charlie Chaplin. While it is easy to sit comfortably and laugh till our sides ache, not everybody has the knack to evoke such a response.
Perhaps one of the most difficult arts, requiring genuine talent, is stand-up comedy - the art of making people laugh with words and expressions alone - which is steadily spreading its roots in the city and capturing the imagination of college students.
"I started with mimicry at home and in school. The very idea of making people listen to me and laugh was an exhilarating one," says Praveen Raj Devasagayam, a student of Indian Academy.
Praveen has won many stand-up comedy events in many fests like Channel V's India Fest (2014) and Cul-Ah (2013) in Mount Carmel College. He believes that college is the forum for this art. "Apart from the fests, there's so much material to draw from college life," he says.
However, Kritarth Srinivasan, a journalism student who is the youngest professional stand-up comedian in Bangalore is of the opinion that college doesn't have much scope for his practice. "I started off in an open mic competition and that's where I met many professional stand-up comedians, who are very encouraging and with whom I perform occasionally," he says.
Bangalore, as a hometown and a sprawling city of various cultures, provides excellent inspiration to most of these budding comedians. Jethender Bhat, a student of Jain College who was one of the top five names in the stand-up comedy events in Nokia's India Fest (2013), believes that the best humour comes from the ability to make fun of oneself. "We Indians tend to get sensitive when it comes to cracking a few jokes about our own culture when in fact, there is no healthier fun than doing just that," he says.
Praveen also believes in drawing inspiration from everyday-life in the city. "From street vendors to posh foreigners, our obsession with cinema and cricket - there is so much to indulge in. While living in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, there are huge opportunities to get to know different people, their languages and thus connect with them on a whole new level," he says.
While any audience with the slightest sense of humour would enjoy a stand-up comedy show, finding the right crowd for the right jokes takes a bit of effort, feel these young comedians.
"The best material for stand-up comedy is experience with which the audience can relate. Finding this common ground gets a bit challenging sometimes," says Jithender. Where as Kritarth, who does numerous corporate shows, feels that the right venue is more important to have a good show. "An audience would respond to any kind of comedy as long as it's good but more important is to do away with anything that could distract them," he says. Whether in a college or professional set-up, these stand-up comedians are clearly paving the way for a growing art - one that involves a growing culture as well, open to the occasional jibe at one's accent or ways of doing things.