What’s Life Without Clean Humour?

October 28, 2009

Humour is essential to lead a normal, healthy life and more often than not, life becomes meaningless without clean fun. 

Humour can come in the form of jokes, comedy, wit, personal interaction, third party incidents, funny stories, cartoons and such other media. In simple words, whatever makes us laugh can be defined as humour. Imagine life without humour! Most of the literate Indians buy English newspapers just to have a glimpse of R K Laxman’s cartoons. We eagerly share jokes with each other. Humour certainly brings solace to an otherwise hectic life.  

However, we fail to understand that humour is generated within us. On the contrary we tend to think that humour that happens to someone else which we might either have heard or read or experienced. Humour is part and parcel of everyone’s life and many a times an incident due to which we might have laughed at others might have occurred in our own life. Is it not? 

Keeping this in mind, I thought of sharing with readers certain incidents that have happened in my life, which unintentionally was humorous. All these narrated incidents are genuine and if you have read/heard them somewhere else, consider that either similar incident has occurred to them or one has penned others experiences or could be very well a copy of my experience shared with friends over the years. However, my sole intention here is to bring a smile on your faces.   

When I was a three-year-old, my parents left me at my aunt’s place in Mangalore. Since the place was new to me, my priest uncle made it a point to visit me as often as possible. His frequent visits began to agitate me. My small mind led me to believe that the priest uncle will soon be a reason to deprive me of my share of food and drink.

One fine afternoon as the priest uncle visited us , I approached him and asked in Konkani, “uncle tu veggi vethya mu” ( Uncle hope you will be leaving soon). My virtuous aunt embarrassed at listening to my comment called me after my uncle had left and said, “ Ale Putta konee ailyar,  vethya mun sanghok najo, rav munaje ,  tashe mulyar te vegge vetele. “ (Dear son, never ask anyone to leave. You must ask them to stay and then they are sure to leave soon) 

When my uncle arrived again the next day I promptly told the same words my aunty had tutored me to say. I could see my uncle’s eyes beaming with joy and pride suggesting that he was happy with his nephew’s overnight change of attitude.

That was however short lived until I shouted out to my aunty “Have uncalak ravok sangle, hatha tho kandit veta mu?”  (I asked uncle to stay, now I hope he will go for sure)


At the young age of three I had this fervent desire that every girl must be a nun and every boy a priest. In fact I was insisting that my only sister joins the nunnery (which she finally did) and my three brothers become priests (none of them did).

My priest uncle one day asked me.

“Vivian, won’t you want to be a priest too?”

I answered, “No…  I do not want to be a priest. I want to be Pope.” 


It was not until my elder daughter was two years old before my wife could join me along with her. The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8 in the evening but finally landed at midnight and it was not until 3 in the morning before we hit the bed. 

Daughter: Mummeeee, who is this person sleeping here ?

Mother: That is your daddy darling.

Daughter: Mummeeeee… If he is my daddy, why is he sleeping with you? 


Since the birth of my second daughter we never had a peaceful minute in the house, in the positive sense. A chatter box as she was, we had to wait until she fell asleep before we could find time for ourselves. However one day, my patience ran out and I indignantly offered her one Dinar if she kept quiet for two minutes.

Very obediently she moved to her small chair and sat quietly. Just when I was admiring her for her will power, she blurted out in 10 seconds, “Dad, are ten minutes over?”   


It was our weekly shopping at the mall with my wife. Both of us were in the same section with one shelf dividing us. Like good married partners, our conversation followed:

She: What color dishes must we buy

Me: We have so many. Why do we need dishes?

She: What about the plates and glasses…..and ….

Me: We have so many of them too.

She: What?? What did we come here to buy then? 

It was not until we came face to face, that I realized that I was speaking to a stranger. With a polite Namaste, I disappeared from the scene and my wife was enjoying the comedy of error from a distance. 


I took my family to Sri Lanka on a holiday trip which we all dearly enjoyed. One morning we decided to go to a local fish market similar to our Mangalore market where they sell fresh fish, dry fish, meat etc.  My wife was doing her usual browsing when suddenly a group of ladies from the shop surrounded my wife and spoke to her in native Sinhala with warmth and affection. My wife was overwhelmed and almost in tears. 

We later learnt that my wife looked just like the daughter of one of the ladies in the group who had gone abroad. Mistaking my wife to be her, they started speaking to her. Upon realizing that they have made a mistake were apologetic and even gave us a handsome discount on their merchandise.   

To make matters worse, upon returning to the hotel, the waiter asked my wife if she was a Sri Lankan. I told him that she indeed was a Sri Lankan but had left Sri Lanka many years ago and has forgotten the language.

The waiter confidently said, “I know sir, I could make out from her face that she was a Sri Lankan.”. You should have seen the way my wife’s face flushed with anger, who incidentally is a Mangalorean. 


A few years later while my younger daughter was five years old, we were having dinner.  My wife was running a mild temperature and was resting.

As she was dining, my daughter asked me who had prepared dinner. I told her that mom had prepared dinner.

Curiosity took the better of me and I asked her.  “Why do you ask child?”

And much to my wife’s disappointment she said, “The food is exceptionally good today and I wondered if it was actually Mom who prepared.”  


A distant family member, a pious spinster in her late 40s joined duty as a maid in the home of a wealthy Christian lady who had recently married her Hindu childhood friend.

The innocent lady asked, “ Bayee (madam), if a Christian marries a Hindu, will they be blessed with children ?

And madam promptly replied, “Yes, Of course, why do you ask?”

“Oh I see, I thought children will be born, only if Sir is converted to a Christian.” she innocently said. 

We were on a family trip to Ooty and this time my eight year old godchild joined us. On one occasion we had no other option but to use unclean toilet. As I was waiting for my godchild to come out from the toilet, I could see him holding his shoes in hand and walking bare feet. Surprised, I asked him why.  He said, “Uncle the toilet is so dirty inside , I did not want my shoes to get wet.”  

** **

My brother visited me in Dubai last year and we had a wonderful week together. It was soon time for him to take leave. My friend came by to drop him to the airport. He bade an emotional goodbye with a few tears trickling down our cheeks.

I sat alone sad that he left and thinking of all the fun we had during the past week.

The door bell rang. I was pleasantly surprised to see my brother on my door step. I thought he had returned to give me yet another last goodbye. Instead, he walked straight inside and took hold of his shoes. It was not until then that any of us had noticed that he went down only with his socks.

Vivian Castelino - Archives:

By Vivian Castelino, Puttur/Abu Dhabi
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Comment on this article


    Fri, Oct 30 2009

    Very well narrated.A smile on face always makes man happy and good feeling towards another man.Life with out humour is curry with out salt.Joking on other person's expense is really bad.Keep smiling and try to keep others to smile,that's life.Expecting more articles from in future.All the best.

  • Nancy, Mangalore/Vancouver

    Thu, Oct 29 2009

    Vivian good article with real jokes! Very well written!!

  • Nancy, , Mumbai

    Thu, Oct 29 2009

    Really now a days children are very smart. I mean they are ready with answer or questions. After reading your younger daughter question of 10 mts, I remembered my younger daughter reamrks. For some reason she gave me back answer and I told her not to give back answer. So she immidiately replied me as "Mummy where I give from back, I give answer from front only no??"

  • Lancy M Fernandes, Jeppu/ Pune

    Thu, Oct 29 2009

    Nice cute instances. Very true. It is said laughing giving more exercise in short time than 2 hours of gym. Good news that even Dolla is planning for Laughter circus. keep cherishing good exepriences as these.

  • Anil, Halealve/Cardiff

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Very Very well said Sir. I believe a day spent without laughing or making others laugh is a day wasted:) I am sure you have many many more incidents in your kitty. Waiting for them to come out tooo .

  • John Pereira, Kulshekar, Mangalore/Ghatkopar, Mumbai

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Mogall Vivian, You have rightly said: What is life without humour? As, otherwise, life can be boring and monotonous.Humour results in laughter and makes life a bit cheerful. One may not be wrong if you call it the spice of life. It helps you to wake up from your slumber, so to say and blocks the negative thoughts which may make your life dull. I remember, when we have a get-to-gether we tend to chit-chat and crack jokes. Sometimes, these jokes can be considered sick jokes with sexual innuendos, such as sardarji jokes.

    I remember, when the gathering comprises of only males and they enjoy the cocktails etc.celebrating somebody's wedding, promotion or achievement, the humour becomes rampant with sardarji type jokes, in the absence of females. Once,I also happened to pass by all female group and found they too were cracking jokes involving males, which males may not approve of. Anyway, I remember a couple of humorous incidents of my childhood. When I was a small boy, my Uncle was a regular visitor to our house as he was a Bachelor and he used to bring sweets of fish shape.

    So, I when I saw him coming, I told my mother that Daryacho Maam ailo and he heard it and had a hearty laugh. Next, once I had to write an essay at school on the topic of 'one person running down another'. My essay said the person used staircase to run up and down etc. and my class-teacher was amused and gave me a bad remark. Later on I realised my folly and learnt it meant character assassination. Cheers Viv!

  • Lia, Mangalore

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Good One Mr Vivian Enjoyed Reading Your Article You Made Our Day.....Thank You & Keep Writing

  • Elias Mascarenhas, Puttur/Australia

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Nice piece of write up which is far better than the imaginary Rampa's and Sardarji jokes going around. I have seen you more as a very serious person. Now I realised that you are a very jovial person. Keep writing.

  • Stan Ageira, Mulki

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Well written Mr.Vivian. In this gloomy period of recession you managed to bring a grin on our face. We wait for some more of such stuff. Good luck.

  • Steven, Mangalore/Sharjah

    Wed, Oct 28 2009

    Good humour Vivian.Myself and my wife both started our day with laughter.Indeed Laughter is the best madicine.May You blessed with many humourous incidents so we can be ceerfuful and laugh atleast for sometime in this hectic scedule and resession time.

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