Two days ago, on the 8th of April many people in Baroda gathered at Sayajirao Gruh to attend a lecture by a well known Indian architect who resides in the city. Presented by Blue Star (whose catch phrase is Breathe Easy!) and convened by IIID as the beginning of a Masters lecture Series program, the lecture was titled "Building Compassion-Humanity, Reciprocity and the pursuit of a Sustainable Society" . The citizens of Baroda always turn out with great loyalty for events that are generated in the city but perhaps this courtesy is being taken slightly for granted. The time taken out to attend an event by an audience is always with the hope that a presentation will be well researched and certainly something that goes beyond a self-serving PR exercise of self-promotion and self-adulation. Personally I have no problem with anyones pride of their achievements as long as it is contained to the intimacy of sharing it within a personal space of engagement. But when it turns into megalomania that gets thrust down peoples throats in a public forum then it is highly questionable as to what the ethics of intention really are; and will most certainly receive critical reactions and responses as this lecture has.
We were subjected to enormous photographs of the individual from countless magazine articles and Xeroxed letters to endorse his importance and government connections, all projected on a screen that ran some 45 feet in length. This coupled with a string of random photographs (not of any great specific relevance) but of a touristy nature, became the "visual information" of the evening. Besides this we were "treated to" the advertisement of Blue Star (!) incorporated into the lecture, and where the speaker wanted us to be convinced (!!) that a company manufacturing air-conditioners held an environmental conscience!!! I'm an optimist not an idiot please...and therefore the naivety of all this back scratching became far too obvious for any of us to be "compassionate" about!
Did I mention all the trophies given to each other....all aglow quite literally, and metaphorically too?! At one point in the evening I just lost control and burst out into a hysterical fit of giggling quite unbecoming of a 54 year old woman who should certainly know better than to have a melt down of patience. But the absurdity of seeing well respected professionals make such utter fools of themselves was something truly tragically comic.
The contents of this "profound" lecture was like a mediocre motivational speech; the kind that you come across when you channel surf in the early hours of the morning when more sensible people actually sleep! The out come : a squirming audience who were left trying to hold on to their etiquette and not flee in sheer boredom at this self promotional exercise.
What a shame and a sham.....and a sheer waste of time.