It seems that this fixation will continue to prosper till the world comes to an end. Speaking of end, brings to mind a cult by the name of Heaven’s Gate in Southern California. Remember the mass suicide by its members, all dressed in identical track pants and sweat shirts, black Nike shoes with a bag packed with essentials lying next to their beds; waiting for their souls to be transported to a space ship trailing some comet? The group whisked Phenobarbital poison into applesauce after which they shoved their heads into plastic bags for asphyxiation and a hastened getaway to heaven. The Year of the Lord, 1997. Last heard, the new-age believers had set up home in an upside-down mountain in France, readying themselves for the world to come to an end, and so preparing to flee on the ever-arriving space shuttle. Aah, started off with Godmen and forgot to mention the name of the Heaven Gate’s Guru, Marshall Applewhite. The man’s—or is not monster, the valid tag—claim to his followers was that he was a direct descendent of Christ. The group, evidently possessed the intelligence of sea-cucumbers sleeping under a tarpaulin, what with the relentless background music of prevailing doom here on earth.
Odd, how this popped up from god-knows which corner of the mind’s hard-drive since this strip was to start off with Sacha Sauda’s, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his over six crore devotees, followers, sewaks who would have, if they had, had their way burnt down entire townships with their wilful ignorance, blind-faith, brainwashed heads?! Or was it because this garrulous, outlandishly dressed Saint had put them on an elevated plane, stacking them up with spiritual energy drinks to rid colonic congestion, and so were ready to do or die in Baba’ name.
This Dera Don worth a multi-million pound fortune, with his multi-speciality hospital boasting of doctors poached—by their gleeful consent, of course—from AIIMS and other supposedly renowned hospitals, his palatial international school, his splashy movie theatres. The man, indeed has to be given credit for his singularly unique style—a heart-shaped hospital, a school with towers sculpted like airplanes, a resort that would put clattery psychedelic rambunctious-ness on an all-time mute, what with its libidinously-rocked ship-shaped contours. A cinema hall which all-year round screened the movies which he produced, directed, scripted with him naturally being the hot-shot hero. The five films, in which he would be prancing around, prominently displaying his belly-fat dressed in hideous garish coloured T-shirts and varied glittery headgear sending his devotees into ecstatic applause. Ram Rahim, the Pop, Rap singer as well. These colourful movies, in inane burbling climaxing with stunts dwarfing skylarking Rajnikant’s histrionics, breakdancing which would have sent Michael Jackson (RIP) in Neverland hibernation ,eulogising which would make an archbishop return to the seminary to do re-read
The underlining theme of these bombastic productions—drug abuse, unemployment, poverty. Now I, hand on heart, am compelled to go on a head-scratching marathon to comprehend how these grave matters could be crammed into these hammy, over-the-top, flashy flicks?! The guru gloats that Honeypreet Singh Insaan (and here we were, believing that all of us were Insaans before the bigwig cine-star baptised the surname for a select few) had broken Jackie Chan’s record, since if the arithmetic is correct, she had played 21-odd characters in a single film. Yes, the guru—I’ve forever loathed the word—was/is quixotically in love with himself. Bewildering, to say the least, that the blindingly obvious X-rated, smutty Rabelaisian lifestyle he led went unseen by his flock. Or was it, seen by some, but they consciously turned a blind eye? Gurmeet-ji, after all, was running many a factory—one which immediately comes off the conveyor-belt— en masse swadeshi and organic food.
Does one’s nose not nauseate at the thick stench of rotting gloop schlepping overhead?! Some Wise-Head, using basic common sense pronounced, “It is all about economics!’’ Now if Babaji, in his many avatars, also happens to be an industrialist, then food factories, besides the cosmetic carousel that he runs, requires all-hands-on-deck and voila, one does not need to engage the services of the aforesaid Wise-Head to tally the certainty that jobs equal income. So those who had not succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome or had not knuckled-under brain-washed palates, went along with the everyday business of the Dera since it provided them with the much-needed livelihood. Thus mum’s the word.
On his fetish for toiletries slash that, and reword to cosmetics, the Guru that goes by the most secular, non-clergical name doing the rounds, slathers his face with imported anti-ageing masks, skin-tightening nocturnal creams, hair serums for that flowing horse-tail, perfumes as opposed to colognes—the only explanation, feminine fragrances a 24X7 requisite. I missed alluding to his pill- popping regimen for virility besides promising a botox-free face drunk on the eternal fountain of youth. Enough on potions and lotions! Flashy, swanky cars customised to his salacious taste and cordoned off by black-out, sound-proof screens from the vehicle’s driver so that he does not get a drift of what takes place with one of his female’s masseuses given his rapacious appetite for rubbing and kneading of his muscles.
Chauffeurs are supposed to have near 20-by-20 vision, rotating owl-like their heads unless, of course it is a case of blind-fold dotage or a job that keeps the kitchen running. Now to hastily step foot, holding on to a queasy stomach, into the kingpin’s living area—bouncy Valentine Day’s cushions dressed in gaudy colours, upholstered springy, high-spirited frolicsome beds, fanciful fluffy couches ready for romping. Bedevilled tunnels of lust, goofas—winding labyrinthic hotbeds designed to shuttle hapless girls/women anaesthetised so as to perform on such bawdy beddings donated by big guns to this high-priest.
Is it not high-time to purge this bewitchment? Unshackle Enslavement, as well? And, if they co-exist in pairs, hoick the parallelism like cyanide seeds of apples, thus letting an apple a day keep the guru away.
Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all