Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I envy your neurosis

Don't despair even over the fact that you do not despair - Franz Kafka

I have had my share of encounters with evangelists. Spooky uncomfortable ones, hilariously silly ones, engrossingly earnest ones. But there was one which got me thinking. It was in LA in the street where the Kodak theatre is. Christmas time shops decked, its all sale mood. There is Scientology church there and there were bunch of relatively young guys sitting with some tomes of Ron Hubbard spread on a table. They had a contraption that measured the pulse as we answered questions.

As I was chronically jobless that evening I thought I'd give the guy a chance. He was asking a bunch of questions in the general direction of :"what are you missing in your life ?", what do you think you have it in you to reach out to but can't, how do you feel about living a life of non-greatness etc. While I understood the direction was to finally sell "the book would fill the hole in your life", I tried to answer quite earnestly.

I finally came across as a unambitious sod with unreal levels of contentment. He smiled and let me go. He had nothing to sell to me and probably thought I was pulling his leg.

Normally this would prompt me to talk about how being surrounded by the spirit of the Christmashopping frenzy, in the city of the great and how spirituality was also being sold with a material flavour to it. There is a shortstory in there somewhere, atleast a rhymeless poem. Or wose still may have even gotten into comparing and contrasting Oriental spirituality and American decadence etc.

But for the first and last time an evangelical encounter made me go into an uncomfortable instrospection: what the deuce am I so satisfied about !


  1. To borrow a borrowed quotation from a mutual acquaintance ""The man who is really, thoroughly, and philosophically slothful is the only thoroughly happy man. It is the happy man who benefits the world. The conclusion is inescapable."

    – Christopher Morley"

  2. In the late nineties while visting Smoky Mountains during a visit to Tennessee, we were hounded by a group of white Hare Krishna guys to buy the Bhagavad Gita. In MDU my father would get into arguments with these evangelicals who would start yelling with a small portable speaker right in front of the house very early in the morning.Right now at work there's this Iyengar girl who converted to Christianity recently with all the fanaticism of a new convert - recently got a warning to curb her enthu for "Aandavar" from mgmt. Which finally reminds me of the rare occasion when the DK guys actually made fun of another religion.The Madurai railway station wall (opp the TVS building)used to be plastered with pearls of wisdom from the DK guys one of which was "Punidha Aaviyil Idli Vegumaa ?"

  3. Compli, quoatation ennavO nallA thaan irukku...

    //"Punidha Aaviyil Idli Vegumaa ?"//
    lol. You have to grant them the sheer absurdity in that.

    SP, :-)

  4. The entire essay is delightful, by the way. A must-read.

    padichchuttu, manRaththula sEraNumnu virumbum sagAkkaL, donation amount'ai ready paNNittu oru comment pOttudunga.

  5. //"comparing and contrasting Oriental spirituality and American decadence"//

    Aamaam aamaam, anti-Occident ellaam odambukku romba nalladhu nu sollaraangale, ippo thaan. :-)