Monday, July 02, 2012

Lentil soup for the Middle Indian soul.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit is a worldwide bestseller. It got its start from their tours as motivational speakers. It was on the circuit that they picked up the short inspirational, life-affirming and soul-uplifting vignettes about ordinary lives. These stories are meant to nurse back the sick soul of the reader to emotional health, much like the yummy-smelling bowl of steaming chicken soup served to a patient to restore his physical and psychological well-being. The logic behind this sort of pseudo or placebo therapy runs along the following lines. Even the worst sinner hopes to find a sliver of everything that’s right with the world and to feel the hope, joy, love, peace, tears and healing that he suspects are lurking somewhere just beyond his reach. Offer him an access to his wish list at an affordable price and in comfortable surroundings and he will be in your debt for ever out of gratitude and relief. Is Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate with its multichannel telecast as well as webcast doing anything less for Middle India? It’s weekly therapy made supremely palatable by his much venerated, soothing presence (don’t miss those empathetic umms he peppers his listening-to-the-victim spells with!) to rid Middle Indians of their guilt and superciliousness towards the less fortunate Others. Shrewd fellow that he is, loveable Aamir Sirji may have already struck a multi-billion deal for a print blockbuster with DVD included for all you know. Once this surefire antidote is safely stored in your medicine chest – er, bookcase,  who would need to join an NGO or a candle-lit march?