Motivational speakers and an uneasy truth

Published: 23rd November 2012 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2012 11:19 PM   |  A+A-

Life is the biggest teacher!’ She exclaimed, waving her perfectly manicured hand. ‘No one teaches better’. The audience nodded, mesmerised by her words and style. She looked radiant, stylish and confident. Everywhere she went, people would listen to her, enraptured by her talk, her poise and more than anything, the way she made things so simple and life worth living.

Crowds would throng the venues where she spoke, thrilled by her enthusiasm, buoyancy and ready wit. ‘Modern living is full of problems,’ she would declare. ‘Not that our ancestors didn’t have any, but they had support systems in the society. They never needed to run to a psychologist, they always had a ready shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic listener and lots of agony aunts hovering around. What about us?’ she would cry and all heads nodded in agreement.

She was one of the modern ‘gurus’ whose words and quotes are lapped up greedily. There would be an introductory talk, after which most people would sign up for the ‘life changing’ course, which would promise them a life full of joy and happiness, a mind filled with bliss and contentment, and bring in a new dimension to their relations.

They would attend the course filled with expectations, in the hope that their lives would dramatically change, relationships would improve and careers would soar. They did come out feeling guilty about wasting their life, how they could have smiled when they cried, how they could have let go instead of holding on and such. They would leave with a determination that from now onwards they would not waste a single minute on negative and worrying thoughts.

A few days later, most of them would be back to square one, with their dilemmas. The thought of a few hundred rupees down the drain would rankle for a few days but would soon be forgotten. After all, one thing they learned from the course is to never repent!

Meanwhile, huge banners and pamphlets would proclaim her arrival in different venues. ‘Every offensive behaviour is a cry for help’ she would state. Everyone would agree.

Private counselling would be available too, at a fee of course. All very discrete and confidential. Her website was full of stories, all eulogising her techniques and empathy. Urging people to register and find peace and solace.

One person in the crowd laughed through it all, through the hype and hard sell. Her young son. He wondered at the irony of it all. Here was a person advising people on various issues including parenting. Promised to change their lives and transform their children into obedient and successful individuals. Their homes into peaceful havens and their spouses into excellent companions.

He winced as he remembered the arguments when he stated that he would go for an arts course rather than a rewarding career in engineering. The threats and shouts. The hysterical pleas to reconsider. He laughed even more when he realised that among all the people who heard her talk about being oneself and following one’s heart, he was probably the one who did it and stuck to his decision.

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