After turning down every possible suggestion and invitation thrown at me since my mother’s decision to talk about my hourly rate, I finally had to capitulate and agree to attend this event. The event was KT’s wife installation, as the president of their chapter of the Rotary Club.
There is no real reason for this, but I had no idea what the Rotary Club does. Even after the event, which was yesterday, I have some vague notions about small gestures of charity. I still have no concrete idea what they do.
But OMG. I have all of the opinions from the 3 hours I spent there. Buckle up guys, some acid is about to be unleashed.
First off, it is clearly a socialising setup for people who enjoy hobnobbing with others “of their own milieu” and very little else. Most of the people I saw there were self-important, appreciated a certain level of pompous and unnecessary ceremony, and generally enjoying brown-nosing and being brown-nosed in turn. [Yuck. What an awful, yet apt, expression.]
Second, there is altogether too much formality and very little substance. I think approximately 7 people came to speak at the lectern. I am not sure because I was concentrating hard on not falling asleep. There was the opening ceremony [lighting a lamp + Ganesh vandanam], then the immediate former president with his presentation, then the current president, then the person who called out names of the board of directors [out of which one was, I KID YOU NOT, a “Sergeant-at-arms”], then assistant governor, the district governor, and finally a vote of thanks by another person. I may have nodded off in between and missed about 20 people, but I doubt it.
There was also the passing out of badges, accompanied by lots of shaking of hands, and doling out of mementos and certificates.
Third, the Rotary Club is a social club. There is nothing inherently wrong about this, obviously, but they choose to garb this simple fact in a whole lot of tomfoolery. There is the odd charitable endeavour, ostensibly for which funds are raised, but let’s face it: there is far too much money that clearly goes into outings, lunches, and the like. If charity was the cornerstone of their activities, then there would be less brouhaha about “fellowships” [I gather this is a glorified way of describing “meetups”, because one of the fellowships was housie night] and more talk about worthy causes. There would be less focus on the individual contributions of members, and more about the causes they espouse. So, pardon me for being slightly cynical, but save me the limp effort towards “doing good”.
Fourth, there is a strong undercurrent of networking. The only person who was remotely close to my age was in insurance, and I can see the business value of him being part of this sunset crew. Polish enough egos, and they may well be persuaded to part with some moolah.
Fifth and final, the emphasis on getting new members to join. Now, as I gathered from the snatches of the talks I actually paid attention to, new members must be invited by an existing member. In the old days, I guess this was a prestigious club to be part of, but I can see that they now have targets for members. The current president’s goal is to increase the club by at least 13 members in her tenure.
Guess who is potentially one of these hapless 13? That’s right, yours truly.
Which, honestly, makes me wonder whether they have any idea of what kind of person I am. I detest unnecessary ceremony. I am of the start up culture; agile processes and talk-less-do-more culture. I do not enjoy vapid socialising. I cannot talk about schools [no kids], husband’s office [not married], kitty parties [unless it involves actual kittens], maids [do my own housework], politics [leads to arguments], card games [seriously?], and so on. My interests are different. But, I might as well have tried to get a charging rhino to change direction, so I gave up trying to convince them that this scene wasn’t for me. Finally, I began nodding along with the blandest expression I could muster.
It was a total write-off as far as Sunday afternoons go, but I suppose one has the occasional ridiculous day after all.