Ujjain : In today’s mechanical life, people seem to have forgotten the real essence of humour.  It seems forced and imposed as people are getting busier than ever before in their lives. However, Dr Shiv Sharma, chairman of “Akhil Bhartiya Tepa Sammelan” ensures that old reminiscences of vintage humour remain alive in the psyche of the common man. Each year he organises a “Tepa Sammelan” to save the last bastion of classic sarcasm.

Free Press spoke to him on the sidelines of the programme as it enters in its 48th year. Asking what he meant by “Tepa”, he replied, “Well, in our Malwi language Tepa means a simpleton and gullible person. Tepa does not mean a fool as most people put it. He is someone who is always ridiculed and so called intellectuals always take advantage of him and therefore always gets raw deal in return.”

When asked about how the idea of organising this programme came about, his eyes light up. He says, “it had all started back in 1970, in the midst of holy celebrations, in the auditorium hall of Ujjain Municipal Corporation. That year, renowned astrologer Pt Surya Narayan Vyas, Late Bhagavat Sharan Upadhyay and Dr Shiv Mangal Singh Suman were conferred the first ever ‘Tepa Award’. As you know during Holi, people are always in a playful mood and therefore we deliberated and later on consented for its annual celebration with much fanfare and enthusiasm. This is our 48th year of celebration and I am glad that we have managed to tickle the ribs of people in Ujjain.”

He points out the motive behind its celebration “the lives of individuals have become purely mechanical and is running out of humour due to the vicious onslaught of stress. We have heard this idiom many a times that laughter is the best medicine available. Though it sounds clichéd, it is a greatest stress buster and boon for staying healthy. We take 1 day out of their busy 365 days to remind them that laughter is the essence of life.”

 He explains the itinerary of the programme from the podium, we present annual reports of burning issues our country and world over in a playful and sarcastic manner and later citations are read out in which events’ and guests are mocked and ridiculed shamelessly. Besides this, guests are also prosecuted and cross-examined in a funny manner. Later on they are bestowed with ‘Tepa honour’. ‘Tepa folk music’, ‘Tepa poetry recital’ programmes are also held during the fest. He has a message for Ujjainites: Take out some time from your busy schedule and laugh as laughing only keeps you hale and hearty.

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