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Editor's Note: This post from Cynthia is in reference to attending the Montreal 1999 program. My last program was at Long Beach in 1997 (I think) and it was a very slick, over produced affair where I was tired of wearing a premie happy face and hoping for the great miracle that would forever change my life. Yeah sure, I know that Knowledge is a subtle lifetime type thing and blah blah. Certainly, the biggest turn off to me was the ridiculous trinket hall with all the overpriced garbage and all the premies oohing and aahing over all the life-size pictures of Maharaji, the titanium watches, the tea sets, the playing cards, the swan logos, the lotus logos, etc. Schlock!
One interesting point is that the ushers refer to Maharaji as "the speaker" in very reverent tones. There are computers that have the exact time duration of all the prior acts like videos and songs. And for Maharaji's speech the duration is displayed as 0.00 which, of course, means that he can go as long or as short as he wants. After all, it's his party.
Oh, and the best innovation for those of you who haven't been to a program in a long time is the hallway ushers with little bells that start ringing about 15 minutes just before the big show is about to begin. It's just like being at the opera, except this is far more serious, gravely serious in fact.
Yes, it's a well oiled machine these days. But, it's got no heart. The music is all pre-recorded and lip-synched. The videos of Maharaji's poetry is simply pathetic.
And, as Cynthia mentions the registration is a total nerve wracking experience where they don't confirm that you have one of the few limited precious tickets until it's too late to book inexpensive airfares. Usually, you just gamble and book a non-refundable one anyway and then pray for Maharaji's grace and if you don't get a ticket then it's a Lila.
|Wed, Dec 15, 1999 at 09:44:44 (EST)|
|What Was So Complicated About the Registration?
First of all, everyone had to register by email or fax. Regular mail was possible, but as the date for the program got near, it became impossible. Registration begins at Visions, then a few weeks prior to the event the registration is transferred to the venue. (God I can't stand that word anymore)! The premies in Montreal venue who were 'organizing' the event were unreachable by phone, even though a local Montreal phone number was given on the information sheet supplied by Visions. The sheet instructed those premies who didn't receive confirmation by a certain date, to call that phone number between 6:00-9:00 or some ridiculous time period on two consecutive days. Obviously, because many people didn't know if they had seats, and were traveling some distance, needed to know. The phone, as expected, was constantly busy on those two days, hence it was a royal mess.
Some premies who registered and GOT confirmations, via email or fax, got to the event and there was no record of their registration, so they had to wait for extra seating. I never got my confirmation, and I hadn't seen m in 15 years. At that time, I really wanted to see him and drove up there anyway, however, I know of premies in Conn. who just decided not to go without a confirmation, because the program was on a work day (Monday, and it's a long trip to Montreal from Conn). When I got to the program, m was already there. I'd gotten miserably lost. I guess I've really become a country bumpkin. Once I hit Montreal, I realized I was in a major metropolitan area and almost missed the program.
Because m was already there, the parking lot was filled, so I just blocked someone in. The atmosphere around the building was weird. As I was running to go into the building, I saw a beautiful Mercedes with four well dressed men inside. It might have been Raja, but I was hurrying to get into the building. I hadn't been to a program in so long. When I walked up to the two premies who were giving out seating tickets (at 4:40--program scheduled for 5:00) there was a couple in front of me arguing like hell with the women, while I stood there, hoping to get in. Finally, another woman came up to me with a list and my name was there. She handed me a seating pass and said rather loudly and rudely: 'Don't forget to come back after the program to pay.'
Needless to say, I didn't. The program itself was flat. M seemed pissy, but came across as bored, saying the same tired old things. They showed a video after m left the stage and half the hall left. I had seen the video before, but (in my then premies mind set) thought it quite rude to m. Now that I am an ex, I see that mass exodus as quite telling...revealing.
It's a whole different atmosphere, than when I left in the early 80's. I think m probably got a lot of complaints about the mismanagement of that program, because it was soon after that he was on the rampage about complaining, etc. Premies were surprised about the disorganization because Montreal has hosted a lot of programs over the years.
I couldn't figure out how things were so fucked up with so small a program, because I had organized larger premie retreat programs that included childcare, food, and a prepared room in case m came (he was in Miami at the time, we were in Gainesville).
That was the last time seeing m for me. Even though I was still trying to be his premie, after that program, I started to feel very strange about m. A 5x7 pix is $10.00!!! Everything about how m has changed things during the 15 years I was away, felt purely ucky. It's all about money. There didn't seem to be one kind person around--except for the strangers, who, without speaking English, helped me on my way in and out of Laval, Que. BTW, as soon as that video was over, I was in my car an out of there. I couldn't stand being around that atmosphere. Chaotic, it was. I guess I just wasn't in 'that place.' LOL
I got miserably lost on the way out, too. Must have been a good omen. I ended up on the surface streets of Montreal and for two hours circled the city. Then I got a flat tire. Then I got on the wrong side of Lake Champlain and had to take a ferry in a huge downpour across to Vermont. The rain/fog was so bad I had to drive 25 mph on the interstate home. Through all this I just felt strange about m.
I never want to see him again, unless I can address him personally, which I doubt will ever happen. He's such a crook!