Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 07/27/00 1:38 PM

Humour: Mona at a life-coaching session


Note: Mona was a flaky character I created in the pre-digital age and she  used to appear in a lot of my DH Middles.

A Costly Session
I had never seen my friend Mona so excited.

All that customary languor was gone, replaced by a glittering eye. “Darling, you’ve got to come and see, it’s the best thing that could have happened to Bangalore.”

“But,” I asked, for the nth time, “what is it, Mona?”

Imperiously she beckoned, already halfway through the door, and long years of experience had taught me that with Mona, it was better to just go with the flow.

The car stopped at a nondescript building and we entered a hall filled to capacity. A hushed silence hung over the room,  till a slim man with wispy blond hair went up on stage to  hearty applause.

“I am here to help you get your lives in order,” the man boomed in a surprising baritone. ”If you believe your life is worthy, I’ll prove it is not. If you believe your life is worthless, I’ll show you its true worth.”

A quick look around showed me that I was the only one who hadn’t understood the profundity of Vermilion Shirt’s statement. Abashed, I slumped lower in my chair.

“Now go on, tell me all,” Vermilion encouraged, and the floodgates opened. Just about everyone in the hall had a question to ask. The questions ran the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous, most of it the latter,  to my unevolved ears.

Vermilion, it would seem, was a Life Coach, a combination of father confessor/ guide/ philosopher/ mentor and agony aunt. No query got a direct answer (but then I did tell you my ears were untrained and unevolved), yet everyone seemed to be satisfied.

It was Mona’s turn to ask a q. “Every time I fly into India from some place abroad, I see the slums near the airport and it fills me with a sense of depression,” she said on a sigh

The answer to that was, I  thought flippantly, to not look out of the window till the plane had touched down. But of course, Vermilion had already launched a blitzkrieg on the evils of poverty and venality, wholly unconnected in any way to Mona’s question.or maybe it was connected. I don`t know, my head was beginning to spin.

My eyes were also beginning to glaze over. It was time I left. Risking Mona’s ire, I nudged her and jerked my head to indicate the door.

At which, Mona nodded affably. Not stopping to marvel at this unlooked-for gentleness of spirit in my friend (no doubt the result of the session) I stood up, preparing to sidle out. Only to be stopped by Vermilion’s booming voice.

“Yes, my friend, what is your problem?” A furtive look around verified the horrifying fact: the man was addressing me.”Er, no problem, Your Honour,” I stammered, feeling like I was in court.

Vermilion sighed dramatically, loudly, sadly. “I understand, dear lady. That is the worst problem. Obviously your life is steeped in selfish pleasures, you have reached a stage where you feel you have no problems at all.”

Dear readers, I will spare you the lecture that followed. At the end of it, my face matched Vermilion’s shirt.

Lo and behold,  my consciousness had been raised but my wallet thinned out. One session with Vermilion cost Rs. 5,000 only.

Well, you didn’t think life coaching came cheap, did you?

This ran in DECCAN HERALD of 27 July 2000.

Related Mona tales:

Humour: Mona in Khajuraho


consciousness raisinggurushumourlife coachlife coaching

Sheila Kumar • July 27, 2000

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