We seem to be living in an age of ‘gurus’. If you’ve got a US visa you can become ‘that mystic man from India’ and then write books, criticise governments and basically enjo

“Yeh duniya ek rangmanch hai babu moshai”, Rajesh Khanna had so memorably told Amitabh in the cult classic Anand. But Neel Shah is not sure if Khanna had in mind the breed of ‘Gurubhai’ who’ve made a career out of turning this world into a farcical stage.

The problem with the rat race is that even if you win the race, you’re still a rat. Add to it the fact that we don’t seem to be winning the race anyway. As Calvin, of the Hobbes fame, would have said for the situation – rats!

One way to be out of the rat race is to change our species! Yeah, for all we know, we might end up as the undisputed kings and queens of the pig race. Sounds yucky? Well that’s because we are presently at the bottom of the heap. As management philosophers would tell us, if you are at the top, you can throw up a lot of non-sense and there would always be people to clear it up and earn you the credit for their work.

In any case, with the markets opening up and globalization driving most local buses, conventional jobs are no longer ‘happening’. People are venturing into fields that were previously, well, not considered ‘a field’ itself. And yet, there are examples of people prospering in those ‘non-fields’.

When I was in college, all of us used to joke that the way ahead would be to build a temple in the city. After all, we grew up watching stones in the middle of busy roads end up becoming huge temples,  flush with funds, stature & ‘brand equity’. With millions of local and non-resident ‘believers’ leaving behind sacks full of green paper in the ‘Daan Peti’ of all such temples, the ‘return on investment’ would have been handsome and it wouldn’t have been long before we got featured in the Forbes list of world’s most powerful ‘spiritual businessmen’. Hmmm! Sounds almost divine.

Talking of divinity, how can we be too far away from mentioning women. (Hey! Don’t  look at me like that, you woman hater, there are some quirky Gods too, remember?) Yes, I once had, and still have, great interest in studying women’s psychology. I still believe that understanding a woman’s brain is the most difficult, if not impossible, job in the world. Being sure of my feeling being shared by at least half of the planet, I had then thought of opening up a counseling class; and help people get a better idea about the other half of the world. So that they could make informed decisions in life.
But of late, with my dadi and buaji visiting our home frequently and the resulting explosion of religious talks, I have now laid my eyes on the ‘career’ of a so-called dharma or spiritual gurus.

When one ooffice recently, my father did not have a second thought f them had come to our before ‘gifting’ a microwave to him. I learnt about it being a gift when no money every came from the ‘guru’ for the machine. Anyway, with most of them moving around in Mercedes and flying to US and Europe to ‘enlighten their disciples’ I should not shed many tears for a mere microwave. After all, it has gone to a person who is all about renunciation!

All scoffed and endured, the point here is that whether it is about connecting with God or with one’s own inner self or psyche, the process has now, unfortunately, become dotted with ‘consultants’, ‘gurus’ and ‘professional help’. Whereas in an ideal world, one’s own self, family and friends would have played that role. Without making us pay for their worldly desires. And most importantly, without trying to benefit from our emotions.


Author. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Journalist.

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