Other Side of the Mirror: Actually speechless
By : Bikram Vohra
The human race was not born to give speeches. We haven’t yet had the time to develop to the point where we can rivet people with words. In that sphere we are largely primitive. I have recently attended a function where three people gave boring speeches and three others gave even worse ones. After which the flipping Chief Guest droned on for 26 minutes stringing cliches together like a child putting cheap glass beads on a rope. Everyone sat there and listened instead of saying shut up. If you have to give a speech the least you can do by way of courtesy to all those poor hapless victims in the auditorium is make it reasonably interesting.
Do your homework. Why does everyone say exactly the same thing?
First, the master of ceremonies stands up and tells you how grateful he is that we have all come to the function. Then he praises the President, the Secretary and the Treasurer. Each one of them is going to say precisely the same thing when it is their turn. Then he expresses gladness, gratitude, reassurance and undying humility. All those that follow will also mumble out their salutations in much the same order. They will say how moved they are that the chief guest has spared so much of his valuable time (it is always valuable) and how awfully honored we are that he has graced the occasion and for that we are truly thankful. You don’t particularly mind this drivel however banal it is but the fawning surrender on behalf of the audience gets a bit much.
Why do we have to drool over the presence of the guest and grovel with humility as if we were some sub species honored at the great bwana having deigned to give us a cluster of minutes. One can be polite but the gratuitous rendition of the guy’s virtues is a decided pain in the neck. We are told what a sterling fellow he is, his achievements are listed and a little halo is placed around his head. By this time you are swimming in sticky sentiment and the last thing you want is this musical revue of the chief guest’s lineage.
Then he comes on and thanks all these wonderful people on the dais and how grateful he is to be here and how much of an honour it is to address such an august gathering, which is really a load of utter rubbish because the motley crew in the room is anything but august, more like wilted April than anything else.
Get on with it, get on with it.
Finally, it is all over and you are sort of sitting there stunned by the overflow of words but before relief can set in along comes this Secretary and now he wants to give a vote of thanks. Skip the vote of thanks, please, just drop it, no one will object, no one will care, our ears are ringing with speeches. But he has to do it, what with his fist clutching a sheaf of papers with points on them. Now, he will tell us how pertinent the Chief Guest’s remarks have been and isn’t it a treat that we were privileged enough to hear him today and we are so much the wiser for it. After which, another deep plunge into the gratitude pool and lots of thank yous to the kindness of the Chairman with whose kind permission this kind offer was possible and the kind members of the board who were so kind as to encourage us to greater heights not to forget the kindness of the theater manager who kindly loaned us the hall and the kind contribution of our kind past President who kindly arranged the refreshments and our past, past, past Secretary who came all the way from Neverland to be with us on this special occasion and we are all touched that he could take out time from his busy schedule and we also record our thanks to.. Shut them for heaven’s sake, can’t take more of this.