Forgetting gets easier with age as that’s what everyone around you expects of you. But some names stick even with brains that are too fatigued or too feeble to function. Rarely are these names remembered for the job title attached with them.
Richard was a smiling stranger on my table at an exclusive club in Dubai. He was a jolly man with refined tastes, working with an oil company and earning a handsome package of salary and benefits that included company-paid membership of the club where we sat. When we got up to leave we exchanged cards as was the custom in the upwardly mobile social circles, and from that moment on till today when he lives elsewhere and works at a different job I have never been able to separate his job title on that business card from the person of Richard. It was: Lubrication Manager.
I hope you’ll find my job title just as unforgettable, though it is by no means as racy or lucrative. It is: Love Consultant.
I am a counseling psychiatrist by training and ran a private practice for several years during which all my clients had the same malady: Love. From raging or closeted teens to sedate headmistresses and naughty businessmen, they were all referred to me by family and friends, for different reasons. There was this high school girl who chain smoked all day and all night. Another one was a busy book worm; had to have a book in hand if not in front of her eyes all the time. There was this young man who’d burned holes in his left arm by stubbing cigarettes on it. There was a grandmother who had gone all quiet; hadn't spoken a word for months. A young medicine doctor was sent to me for rehab after his colleagues reported him to hospital administration as a sex addict. They all told me in the very first consultation that they had failed at love, or love had failed them. They spoke differently but all of them used the noun love and the verb fail in the same sentence.
Of course it’s my job to diagnose and tell them who fails what, but if they want to judge themselves and talk about unrequited love, tainted love, painful love, any kind of love, they have my total attention for the 50 minutes they have paid me for. Inevitably, I have done nothing but talked and listened about love throughout my counseling career. So I decided it was time to turn specialist and changed my job title from psychiatric consultant to love consultant. Putting it on my business card means I am now committed. I refuse to deal with anything other than love.
It makes perfect business sense too. There are enough of you out there with ‘love problems’ to keep my practice running until I choose to retire in Dubai and buy the membership of an exclusive club with the money earned off you. It’s easy to work out whether or not you have a love problem. It is connected one hundred per cent with happiness. So if you are happy you are giving love and you are getting love. If you are unhappy you may or may not be giving love but you aren't getting any. I have devised a self-help kit for you to determine whether or not you need professional help. Answer these quick questions:
On a scale of 1 to the highest of 10 have you been sitting on 8 or above in happiness and satisfaction with life, uninterruptedly for over a year?
If your answer is Yes, think again. If it’s No, is your level below 2?
If your answer is Yes, stop thinking, you need a holiday, or a proper doctor, perhaps both. If your answer is No, you are my potential client.
A clear majority is not loveless. They are getting just enough love to survive or build hopes on. You are living because you hope one day love will find you. Experience tells us that often times love and the lottery fail to find its most ardent seekers who, after a certain age, turn to mosques and finally find the equivalent of love and money there. People come to me just before making the final decision on whether to end their life or take to the mosque, though their chances of finding happiness increase the earlier they talk to me.
That does not follow that I entertain everyone who approaches me. The other day a fellow called me and said he was the Taliban. I told him it was a ridiculous and grammatically impossible claim to make. He laughed and said he was glad to meet someone who was not afraid of the word. I pointed out that since we have never met he could at best be glad to talk to me. At this point he decided he doesn’t like me. I heard him mutter an Uzbek phrase that means, ‘when you tell your hen you need its droppings as medicine it climbs the tallest tree’ before he gave me the proposal for which he’d called me.
‘You’ll be working with young boys, and maybe some girls. You are the love doctor, hain na? You have to make sure there is no love left in them. Suck all the earthly love out of them and replace it with one hundred times more love for the afterlife. That is the job we are offering. Your place of work will be kept secret but it will constantly switch between North and South Waziristan. Your salary can be paid in any currency and anywhere in the world. There is no pension and gratuity and you cannot form a workers’ association. You want to do it?’ I said ‘no’ and he dropped the phone,
The point is: The absence of love is a quality eagerly sought by mass murderers. Presence of love is what I facilitate. We are in fact direct opponents in terms of our business. How can I work for them? I’d rather work for you, especially if you can’t pay my fee. Here’s a chance for you to consult the Love Guru for free in the forum below. Just don’t ask for a 10-step guide to being a great lover, because if you do, I will give you the guide and you’ll forever lose the excuse for not being a great lover.