The Foundation

She kept insisting that

A, B, C and D understood

her better because they 

were ‘members of the 

Foundation,’ and it reached

a point where I couldn’t 

take it anymore. So, I

signed up, decided to

go for a three-day retreat

held by a corporate cult

filled to the brim

with business jargon

and ‘volunteers’ who aren’t 

paid a dime for their services. 

I don’t know why I did it.

Was it a need to please a woman 

who’d treated me with nothing 

but contempt? Was it a hankering

for love? Or was it something 

petty like a yearning for admiration?

I stood outside the big, blue gates

of the auditorium like towering 

monarchs, the sign on 

them, saying, 

“The Foundation greets

you,” and I looked sideways, 

wondering if there was a mall nearby 

where I could get a cup of coffee,

read a book and forget about

the whole affair. But I walked 

in against better judgement 

and found myself in a red,

assembly room where the

temperature alternated between 

chilly and hot, the speaker

banned the 5Ws and 1H, 

yelled at people with genuine

questions for making a ‘racket,’

asked the oppressed to ‘complete’

their relationships with abusers 

by calling them or writing letters

(if they were dead) and

apologising,

urged the crowd 

to ‘declare’ something:

send it out into the air until it 

crystallises, and then grab it, 

beckoned people who caved in 

to berate others who questioned

his methods by deeming them 

‘unproductive,’ 

and lash out at those 

who didn’t participate enough by 

screaming that they were ‘unconnected,’ 

and ‘rancorous,’ 

until the mob verbally lynched

a divorcee with a violent ex-husband 

by calling her a ‘rancorous,

unproductive, unconnected, fat pig,’ 

and the speaker who 

called himself a ‘cabinet leader,’ 

added fuel by 

shouting, “You didn’t complete with 

your father and then married a man 

whom you perceived to be abusive 

and concocted the story of 

him calling you a fat pig. Complete!

Declare! Fat pig! Fat pig!” 

He then moved on, imploring 

the audience to declare that 

they’d sign up for the Foundation’s 

lifestyle course, the Foundation’s sex 

and art course, the Foundation’s

relationship course 

and the Foundation’s corporate 

success course. 

“In the US, many call this a sales 

pitch! The bastards! Remember 

The Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off?

This is like that. You don’t get the 

Foundation until you experience 

it in your life. Who here declares

that they will?” He barked, 

and I had had enough of him

and my then girlfriend. I walked 

out, calling her, saying, 

“I can’t do this. It’s not for me!”

And in three weeks, 

she cheated on me,

but she’s in therapy now 

(or so I heard), and I doubt any 

person accused of creating 

a discordant racket, 

failing on making a declaration 

of world peace

or grabbing a job as a rocket scientist

and leading an unproductive life 

saturated with rancorous outbursts

and spells of being unconnected

wouldn’t find themselves on 

a leather couch 

couch, listening to a gentle 

voice whispering, “It’s okay. 

You’re better now.” 

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