It’s the post DeMo world. Diggi Palace is a ‘digi’ zone. I’m greeted by cashless counters. But the ‘kullhad chai wala’ wants cash. Exasperated, I look up. Cheap plastic flowers dangling from strings greet me back. Now I get it. I’m on the highway to digitisation on a rattling kitsch truck.
I follow the crowd and find myself listening to Sadhguru, the one who found inner peace by bunking school. No, seriously!
“My mother packed me lunch and water for school. I did not attend class. I climbed a tree and shut my eyes. I did not have a watch, so could not keep time. I was in a blissful state. In the evening when children returned home, I realised it was time to go.” Too bad the advice came a couple of decades too late for me. He talked about other stuff. How goats evolved into giraffes (really?!) over millennia but monkeys became humans rather quickly. (Ha!) “What human beings are suffering isn’t life but their inability to handle their own minds. We don’t give a sharp knife to a child, not because the knife is dangerous, but because the child doesn’t have a steady hand. Similarly a sharp intellect needs a steady mind.” Hmm.
On my next stop, it was time for the enigma called Amma. Jayalalithaa’s biographer Vasanthi spoke about how the image was a careful construct. How Sasikala, “a video tape seller entered her house and empathised with her frustrations. She was a good listener, lived in the same house for 30 years, knew all her secrets, entered party politics and influenced ticket distribution.” What about MGR, she was asked. “Was there an affair?” The reply was succinct. “What a naive question!”
Post lunch, I found Paul Beatty reading excerpts from ‘The Sellout’ on Obama’s inauguration. Someone asked about political correctness in Trump’s post truth America. You won’t believe what he said! “Donald Trump has divided America into assholes and quasi-assholes. He’s got his own sense of political correctness.” It was going to be such a fun session! But somehow they began saying things like “streams of consciousness and referential textuality on collective guilt…” Snooze… Applause. Wait, what? Yawn. Not awfully politically correct of me. To add to my embarrassment, the phone rings. Heads with frowning eyebrows turn in my direction. Office tells me to chase Sadhguru. He’d said “If Jallikattu is dangerous, so is cricket with the cork ball. Ban it too.” Haw! #PoliticallyCorrectOrWhat
The sun was setting and the head was throbbing. It’s only the first day and I’m tired of the crowd. Stop being so crabby, admonishes my ‘inner self’. Perhaps I should read Sadhguru’s Guide To Joy. “You know how to be joyful. You want to be joyful, but… To kick that but(t) you need a yogi.” Or chai? That’ll be another 30 bucks. In cash.