Two tigers that have taken over as honorary secretaries of ‘Tigers International Club’ meet in a five-star hotel to discuss future programmes of their club and its prospective chief guests.
First Tiger (FT):
Congratulations for being elected as the secretary of such a large club as yours. What are your plans for this year’s programmes?
Second Tiger (ST):
Thanks. Congrats to you too. Well, I want to plan something really different and interesting for our members who come from a cross-section of society. Also, they expect a lot from me and I should not disappoint them.
FT: That makes two of us. My club members also look forward lo having an interesting and lively time under my stewardship. To begin with, we should identify the right persons to be the chief guests at our meetings.
ST: Yes, you are right. The success of the meetings depends a great deal upon the chief guest who graces them. Shall I make a list of our prospective chief guests? With whom do I begin? The IAS officials who would like their voice to be heard?
FT: Oh no! Not them. Most of these officials are used to only listening, not given to speaking their mind.
ST: Then shall we begin the list with leading doctors? There are several, I’m sure, who could speak well.
FT: There is no doubt about that, of course, but doctors these days are wishing to maintain a low profile because they are being hauled up for negligence.
ST: Then what about sportsmen?
FT: That’s a good idea but unfortunately the only sport that is popular with or folks is cricket. The less said the better about our cricketing ‘heroes’ who have collapsed like a pack of cards. Disgraceful! (Stresses the word)
ST: Certainly so, but don’t you think the media is also responsible for an the publicity it gives them?
FT: That’s also true. The press believes in pack journalism. An innocent man was torn to pieces in spite of claiming his innocence. I wonder why it is so impatient and doesn’t wait till the truth is established?
ST: Let’s forget about what the media does and come back to selecting the chief guests for our meetings. What do you think about politicians, at least the sincere ones? For instance. . .
FT: You are really naive. All the names you mentioned are of no consequence; their words don’t match their deeds at all. The few who are sincere will not want any publicity or care for visibility.
ST: What about businessmen? There are a few I know who might be willing to come as chief guests.
FT: (chuckles). I don’t think they are the right persons. They are so engrossed in their business that they might be tempted to convert the meeting into an opportunity to promote their business.
ST: (exasperated) You don’t seem to agree to anything I suggest. At this rate, there will be no names in the list at all. Do you have anyone else in mind?
FT: (Stares hard at his friend). Yes, I do. But before I tell you, I must ask you why one thinks of inviting only ‘celebrities” or VIPs as chief guests? You seem to forget that there are more deserving people who are dedicated to their profession, but not rich in the material sense.
ST: (looks puzzled). Who are these people?
FT: Haven’t you guessed? This shows we don’t think of them at all, leave alone consider them for gracing important occasions or presiding over meetings. This is one community, which still tries to practise what it teaches and has no vested interest in parting with knowledge.
ST: (Suddenly appears to understand). You mean teachers? Let me see, I think I know a couple of them.
FT: Thank God for saying you know at least a couple. Now you can start preparing the list of names, (he reels out a number of them at one breath).
N Meera Raghavendra Rao