This is the magic of ace comedians- they can’t tolerate you being sad even after they pass away. Because when they are gone, they leave a legacy of their hilarity behind. All you remember is how much they made you give that I-don’t-care-a-thing-in-the-world laugh.
Raju Srivastava- 1963-2022
I remember watching Raju Srivastava for the first time on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge back in 2005. There were many great comedians on the show but Srivastava stood apart with his comedy centered around the rural and daily life of the common man. The winning trophy of the show went to another great comedian, but it was Raju Srivastava we all remembered even years later because of his entertaining appearances in shows.
I would often watch his stand-up comedy videos whenever I wanted to laugh my lungs out and ward away stress. It always worked! I would laugh hard and non-stop and felt any worries can be handled in this mood.
I wish, like most of you are wishing, that he had more time on this earth. Is this called being selfish- wishing someone stayed alive for more years so they could entertain you more? Whatever it is, I just wish someone was there to warn him about things he did wrong that impacted his health dangerously. I wish someone had given him the right advice about taking care of himself. In one interview a colleague of his recalls how when once he asked the comedian about his impending health, he had this to say- “Kabhi kabhi logon ko hasaane main bhi stress ho jaata hai.”
People like him should stay among us more. People who make us see comedy in everything- even the most ordinary, mundane, and struggle-rich life. Raju Srivastava made us see the hilarity in traveling in overcrowded local trains when no one else could see it. His keen observation of people, situations and special occasions (remember the shaadi and vidaai scenes) won hearts. He even felt the pulse of inanimate objects- overhead fan, decorative lights- what they are thinking and what they are talking about.
People like him are saviors of those who get beaten down by life too often. Because of him, the ordinary man can look life in the face and say, ‘Knock me down as much as you want, I have the laughter king to make me see your funny side.’
Goodbye, our samosa-faced comedian (see, I can’t even keep the humour off this tribute post). You are gone but will stay in the comedy of everyday life. One curious question to you- Do you still want to make people laugh wherever and whoever you might be and become now? Whatever your next role might be, I just wish this for you- May you keep finding comedy in everyone and everything and be able to make yourself laugh as much as you made us.
To all of his fans and those new to him (seriously, how could you be?) enjoy his most popular videos and let yourself laugh as your heart mourns silently.