Saturday, January 27, 2007

Neighbourhood news..

Satya Sai Baba has been camping in my locality and his devotees have descended here in droves. Thousands of people have been queuing up or squatting on the road, to catch a cursory glimpse of his face as his convoy whizzes past. Enterprising vendors have been selling Baba calendars, photograph, chains, posters, etc and making a pile. Eateries have sprung up and are doing brisk business.

I have been quite irritated by this intrusion into our privacy and disruption of our normal routine. How can one man and his devotees take over an entire neighbourhood, hold up traffic and bring life here to a standstill?

Musing thus, I switched on the TV to watch the relay of the cricket match being played in Chennai today. It was then that I realized that 50000 boisterous fans would be setting Chepauk ablaze this afternoon while their 20000 cars would have already choked the bylanes of Triplicane, causing much misery to the residents there. And, by watching the match on TV and by being a fanatical follower of the religion called cricket, I have been a party to the disruption of life in the area around Chepauk. How is this behaviour any different from that of the Baba devotees?

But, what about the questionable methods adopted by Sai Baba, to create an aura around himself and entice gullible people? Again, as I argued in an earlier post, Sai Baba is no more guilty of deceit than many of us in the corporate world. When Coca Cola creates a brand identity and claims in its ads that things go better with Coca Cola; or when TVS Motors makes you believe that just because Sachin Tendulkar drives one of their bikes, we should all buy that model, or when Lux tries to convince you that using their soap would give you the same complexion as Sushmita Sen’s, they are merely creating an illusion and we accept this practice as perfectly legitimate. Why should not Sai Baba build his own brand image then, if there are willing buyers and there is no coercion involved in the process?

To an ardent Baba devotee, my patronage of a game like cricket must strike him as pretty weird and senseless, just as I view his belief in the supernatural powers of a fellow human being quite irrational. Of course, the people who fall in both categories and who worship Sai Baba and cricket must be a contented lot, completely at peace with themselves.

1 comment:

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Correct. The only difference is that the people who watch Surya or Sachin save a kid... while riding on the bike... will not even attempt to do it themselves.

Sai Baba's brand image.. encourages his followers to help other people maybe just as he himself might be...

As Mani would have said.. //Naalu perku nalladhu pannanum na... //
In some cases.. the end certainly justiifes the means. (no.. not cricket)