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Please, no motivation!

Respected sir/madam,

Many years ago, my neighbour Dr. Shankaramenon gave me one videotape of an award-winning film in some foreign language. Italian or French or something. Then itself I told Mrs. Mathrubootham, no Kamalam, no. Danger. Danger. Don’t put it in the VCR. Just keep it for three-four days, then give it back. If he asks anything just say the film was a tornado of Al Pacino sentiments and a hurricane of Kurosawa emotion, like Kamal Haasan says during interview.

But she insisted and we watched it in the evening after children had gone to sleep. Who knows what and all adults-only things these Italians and French fellows will do.

Sir/Madam, everybody dies in the film. Father, mother, grandfather, children, neighbour, cat, dog, everybody. One after the other. Both Mrs. Mathrubootham and I cried non-stop but for different reasons. Which nonsense people give awards for stupidity like that? Life Insurance Corporation of India?

Nonsense film. Ever since that torture, I had told Mrs. Mathrubootham to strictly avoid getting involved in anything recommended by Dr. Shankaramenon. Already so much suffering is there in our lives with pension, inflation, housing society, diabetes and all. What is the need for award film?

But whether she will listen? Never.

This morning while I was having coffee and carefully reading your esteemed newspaper for spelling mistakes, suddenly my mobile phone started vibrating like Punjabi wedding.

One message ok. Two message ok. I had 17 new messages on WhatsApp! And all these messages were coming into a new WhatsApp group called ‘Housing Colony Elders Only’.

These messages were very useful. I am just joking sir/madam! They were the worst things in the history of the world. First 11 messages were good morning wishes. Then there were three jokes which were so funny that I have taken printout and kept just in case I am having surgery and anaesthesia doctor is on strike. At the very end there were some messages from Dr. Shankaramenon.

Immediately I took my phone to Mrs. Mathrubootham. With great excitement, she told me that she has made both of us members of a new WhatsApp group only for the elderly people in our housing colony. Whether you have seen the messages, I asked her? She said no.

So I showed her. What is this, I asked. Oh those are motivational messages, she said. Apparently Dr. Shankaramenon is daily sending such motivational messages and stories to inspire us elders.

Sir/Madam, this was one message: “Sometimes you have to dive into the ocean to learn swimming.”

The next was: “It is physically impossible for the bumblebee to fly. But the bumblebee does not know. So it flaps its wings and flies. Don’t let the rules stop you. Share with all friends.”

Hello! This mad fellow is trying to motivate us or make us commit suicide by jumping out of the window into the sea?

Sir/Madam, what is all this motivational message nonsense. People in this country are mad. Instead of shutting up and working hard quietly and being decent they are waiting for people to give them motivation. During my working days in a nationalised bank, once I was nominated for special leadership training. One senior fellow from head office came and said “Mr. Mathrubootham, there is no ‘I’ in Teamwork. What do you think?”

I wanted to say “First you tell me. There is no adai avial in tuberculosis. There is no Villivakkam in turpentine. You tell me, bloody fool, wasting my time when one accountant is on leave.” But I didn’t say anything. Why make scene.

So I quietly sat and got motivated for two days.

Yours in exasperation,

J. Mathrubootham


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Printable version | Jul 21, 2021 2:52:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/please-no-motivation/article19088470.ece

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