What made The Rotary Club of Madras (East) invite Cyrus Broacha to Chennai

Satheesh Vellinezhi
| Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

By the time you read this, (I’m presuming you are reading this, pardon please), I will be in the beautiful city of Chennai. Let me explain what happened. A couple of months ago, I got a text which said ‘Who are you?’ This is a common occurrence on my phone, and I immediately sent all my details, including Aadhaar Card, PAN card, passport, and manager’s contact, as well as intimate information, such as favourite restaurant, favourite actress, favourite new flyover in Mumbai etc.

I think this ready dispensation of highly classified and private information obviously impressed the inquirer who, surprisingly, turned out to be the Rotary Club of Madras (East). Let me point out quite clearly that they have nothing to do with the Rotary Club of Madras (West). Apparently, this division was created by founder member Rudyard Raghavan Kipling, who wrote East is East and West is West and never the Twain shall meet. Now, the East Rotarians were calling to inquire if I knew anybody who could entertain their audience on March 23 at the world famous, in Chennai, Music Academy Auditorium.

I gave them my list of famous politicians, but they declined. Although impressed by all their acts, they all seemed to be not too cost effective. (A few of them also appeared to favour a cash component, which could not be complied with even over Rudyard Raghavan Kipling’s dead body). Finally, out of sheer desperation, an innocent Rotarian, (again pardon all Rotarians are innocent, at least the Madras East ones are), feebly suggested if I could entertain an audience at short notice? My reply was to ask him to please define ‘entertain’ as a concept.

After much back and forth over the actual meaning and interpretation of that word, we came to a common acceptable conclusion. “The word ‘entertain’ translates to chatting with an audience for about 90 minutes, of which, for the first 15 minutes the audience actually stays in the auditorium. I was then called in for an in-person meet and greet. Where it was quickly agreed upon, that I was much shorter than in my picture.

Asked to describe my act, I sort of pulled a rabbit out of my lungi, so to speak. As I explained to all that lack of height notwithstanding, my act will have four clear components: 1. A little walking, 2. A little talking, 3. A lot of pointing, 4. Lots and lots of negotiating. The Rotarians than had a private meeting, right in front of me, and concluded that anyone who consistently could use three syllable words in ordinary sentences was absolutely acceptable. Then they shook hands. Although, only with each other. After which I got a text from a guy standing two feet away which read, “I guess we have no choice; so you are on March 23, 7 pm;Music Academy Auditorium, don’t be late”.

Those of you who feel this is a shameless plug are absolutely wrong. This is just proof I need to show my wife, that this weekend when I disappeared, I was actually in Chennai! First 20 in the auditorium will get a… er… a hug.

The writer has dedicated his life to communism. Though only on weekends.

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