C. P. Belliappa's Column

Belli goes off the radar screen!

The Introduction
(By: C.P. Belliappa)

Recently I was the Chief Guest at a function. As is the norm, I was to be formally introduced to the audience.

A gentleman from the organizers came on to the stage, cleared his throat and took out two sheets of paper. From the corner of my eyes I could see that the sheets had matter written on both sides. I wondered, how-come this guy has so much to say about me! I thought to myself, maybe he had googled my name. Even then, four pages?

He started with how privileged he was to introduce me to the august gathering. He then adjusted his reading glasses and continued: “Our Chief Guest is none other than the son of a very worthy father…” The gentleman went on about my father’s various achievements, which if one attempts in detail, can easily cover several pages. I figured it must be a kind of prelude before he started on my ‘achievements’. But he rambled on for nearly ten-minutes, full of lofty words about my worthy father. By then he had completed both the sides of the first sheet.

He paused, glanced towards the dais and took out the second sheet with a flourish. “Not bad,” I said to myself, two pages devoted to me.

His voice filled the room again. “Our Chief Guest is not only the son of a worthy father, but is also the father of a worthy son,” he extolled with great conviction in his tone. He then spoke with several superlatives about my son, who is a surgeon; and explained how my son had successfully treated his wife’s sister’s husband – his ‘co-brother’ as it were – and saved the man’s life. My introducer went on to narrate in great detail the complicated liver surgery my son had performed on his co-brother, who, thanks to my worthy son, is now leading a near normal life. The audience demonstrated their appreciation with loud applause.

To my chagrin, he was nearly at the tail-end of the second page of the second sheet. I was dismayed when he started folding the two sheets of paper and glanced towards the dais. He was about to conclude the introduction! With a wave of his hand he pronounced, “I have great pleasure in presenting to you, Ladies and Gentlemen, our Chief Guest……”