Around six months ago, O what a happy time that was, the Man from Madras Musings was invited to give a presentation on Making Money in Madras. This was to a group of financial advisors and MMM had 45 minutes. In his usual fashion MMM put together a set of facts about the city and its financial history – these were top of mind facts – and fashioned a story. To MMM, making a presentation is all about keeping an audience engrossed, entertained and informed. He does not believe that it is necessary to hold forth at length on any one fact and bore the audience to death. He also deems humour to be an all-important ingredient and adds huge chunks of it in all his sessions. It is bad enough that life is so fairy tale at all times that it is quite Grimm and it does not make sense to make an audience that has taken the effort to listen to you feel even sadder after your speech.

Pic taken at a heritage tour – used for representational purpose only

The presentation went off well, the audience laughed at the right places and MMM took his bow and waddled off to the exit. He was informed that the recording would soon be up on social media and he nodded rather absently. MMM though active on several online platforms rarely ever goes back and views stuff by himself. For one, MMM always detects several errors in what he said and secondly, he hates the way he looks on camera. The visuals are invariably taken from the wrong angles, or perhaps there is no correct angle in the case of MMM.

Be that as it may – the talk was duly shared online by the organisers. For the first few days nothing happened and then one of those celebrities with millions of followers chanced upon it, liked it and was kind enough to share it on his profile, encouraging others to see it. The talk went viral thereafter, at least it did from MMM’s point of view – when your following is in four digits and you suddenly notice one of your talks zooming off into seven digits in terms of viewership, it is going viral as far as you are concerned. 

The bouquets and brickbats began pouring in thereafter and MMM accepted both. The errors and omissions were relentlessly pointed out, which MMM agreed to and these messages only went to confirm what MMM had all along felt about these video uploads – they are up forever, errors and all and there is no way you can correct them. At least when it comes to print or online texts, you can add a correction or two. But what took MMM by surprise was the multitude of messages all reflecting caste feeling and hatred. 

The ‘most evolved’ were the least pleased. The horizontal among them was cheesed off that the verticals had been given prominence and the opinion was that MMM despite being a horizontal himself was currying favour with the verticals with whom he was close enough already. The verticals were not too happy that others whom they despised, which encompassed practically the rest of the world, had been mentioned in the same presentation as them. Then came the next rung – the traditional business community – which felt that it had not been given enough prominence. You MMM, thundered one, spoke of us for just three minutes and thirty three seconds and you never mentioned so and so, such and such and him and her, not to mention brother whathisname. On the other hand, you dwelt for 12 minutes on thug so and so who did not deserve a mention at all. All of this he said was because MMM came from a particular community, on which he had dwelt for seven minutes. 

MMM was still reeling from this onslaught when the politicals waded in. Treasure House of Compassion was not mentioned at all complained the Rising Son Party and speculated on why MMM had dwelt on Matinee Idol of Two Leaves. Once again this was because of MMM’s background – patriarchal, upper class, snobbish and reflective of his roots. And so it goes on. The only one that MMM could really appreciate was a post that declared that MMM was a mere peddler of trivia. This was so true. In a 45-minute presentation if that trivia got across it was more than enough. It was not as though MMM was defending his PhD thesis.

For those who are curious, the talk can be seen here

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