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What will we do after 16 May?

6 May

Not too long ago, it became apparent that it is now impossible to go even 24 hours without bringing up the E word in some context or the other. Whether in conversation, or in an article, on facebook or twitter, or you turn on the TV, the Election comes up. One way or another. Wherever you go, wherever you look, the face of the elections creeps up hauntingly. And that face is usually a butt ugly bearded mug, larger than life, plastered on the orange splashed front page of your morning newspaper, threatening you to Abki-Baar your future to hell and back. Those of you who subscribe to a real newspaper every single day, you have my sympathies. That really can’t be a pretty start to your day.

I don’t get a morning newspaper where I live. I have chosen not to. I have also stopped watching the news because its just too noisy. As someone on NDTV routinely says while signing off from the show right before the 9 pm segment, “Stay tuned if you want the news and not the noise.” I was never in the habit of watching the Noise News Hour but on occasion I would endure it, to keep an eye on just how astounding news can get. However, I can no longer do even that. Now even on a lark, not even for fun. I just can’t handle it. So of course I love it when people take digs at the show and the man who hosts it. While the show is unbearable, this mash-up isn’t. I can watch it over and over, and it just never gets old. I find it equal parts amusing and disturbing that my primary source of updates on current affairs, as well as the oodles of comic relief, satire, mockumentary dialogue and entertainment comes from social media that is afire with memes, notes, blogs, views and opinions. There is just so much of it, it is hard to miss it even if you tried really hard.

Last week I seriously began to wonder what on earth we are all going to rant, rave, blog, tweet and talk about after 16 May. At some level I feel dead inside to think something of such grave importance is actually just entertaining now.

Just 10 days to go and the madness will be over. Or as I like to think of it, the real fun will begin. The Human Butcher will most likely come to power, the Man-Boy will recede into a corner, he who dons that funny but unmissable hat will continue to confuse people by alternating between questioning the status-quo and doing another outrageous thing, the mud slinging will continue, mics will be thrown, and everything else we have come to expect of our government (whether old or brand new and shiny) will be a living truth. The farce that is our political system will not fail to disappoint us. So we all might as well just grab a few beers, some popcorn, turn on the TV an plonk ourselves in front of it. Because what we see on TV is the fun part. Sound barriers are broken every night, the zeniths of nonsense that are reached repeatedly shatter previously held records, and no conclusions are ever, ever drawn.

It’s all very funny to read cynical, scathing but hilarious articles about the shenanigans our politicians get up to, watch a 3 minute satire, poke fun at our own media and dig deep into the endless vat of fodder that is our political system and all the Class A Champions that uphold it. But its a lot less funny when I try and figure out how to file an RTI to find out what on earth is up with the road outside my house that has been dug up three times, not paved/remade ever, and has existed in a state of continuous rubble for the last 1.5 years, only to find the official Govt of Goa RTI link throws up a security warning.

It’s really not funny when I go to the LPG agency to pay for a new cylinder and am told that the price has been brought down by the curent Government, as a ploy to boost support for the elections. Incidentally I don’t have an Aadhar Card as yet and so approx 2k worth of refunds are due to me. But since I don’t have a card, nobody thought it was necessary to explain this change to me or not charge me because I haven’t submitted the card details to my agency. It seems the rules only apply when collecting money, but not when it comes to refunding the dues owed to me. I was really not amused when the agency guy doled out this advice “Madam, election ke baad phir se badh jayega. Aadhar Card bana deejiye. Abhi toh aapke paise nahin lautayenge,” with the biggest grin on his face. (Madam, once the election is over, the prices are going to spike again. Get your Aadhar Card made, at least you might get your refund going forward.)

It’s not funny when I try and find the possible reasons to understand why a peaceful wooded beautiful road that runs through our University is being flattened, trees razed down on either side to make way for a 4 lane highway where we don’t need one; while the main arterial highway that runs through Panjim has been dug up yet again, reducing it to an excavation site. Meanwhile, traffic is re-routed through a narrow secondary street which is clearly not equipped to handle the load of traffic is faces. So basically we’re going to have a gleaming highway in the middle of a lovely wood outside my home, while the centre of the city gets traffucked approximately 4 times a day. How do basic things like traffic management in a small, small town like Panjim get fucked up so bad?

I was in Baga this past weekend and I don’t know if it was because I was going back after so, so long, or if the situation was really as bad as it seemed — but I was aghast at the chaos. The parking attendants running a riot, cars parked haphazardly, the “parking lot” was in a state of disarray, pitch black with no lights to help drunk/lost/lonely people find their way back to their vehicles. How does the main tourist area in a state that makes most of its money from tourism, come down to such dismal conditions?

I want to laugh it off when I think about what might actually happen post 16 May. I wish there was more I could do, than just vacillate between feeling hurt, troubled, enraged, yet helpless; and plain cynical and uncaring, because the truth is far from funny.

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22 Responses to “What will we do after 16 May?”

  1. Santulan May 6, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Getting the Aadhar card is another mess.I was lucky that my workplace had a room to setup their equipments and process our papers.. I had to get mom to apply for the card for the refund reasons, and it has been weeks but there has been no progress..

    I gave up on news long ago.. If there is something of note, people on twitter and fb make a point to trend it.. I have enough of my friends blaring BJP/NAMO, AAP/Kejriwal on my TL, that I don’t want it come on my telly.

    I think when it comes to democracy, we truly get the people we choose and that says a lot about us as a group..

    If you can watch V for Vendetta

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      The Aadhar card has been nullified by the Supreme COurt so I am not going to get it made if I can help it, unless I am absolutely sure of the benefits. Right now I am skeptical of everything the govt offers. And yes, this is probably why we deserve the people we get, and we get the people we deserve. Bang on.

  2. liveonimpulse May 6, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    You bet it is ! I am beginning to tilt towards cynicism. None of the parties seem interested in doing any good!

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      I personally dont believe none of them are capable of good. I have my hopes pinned on AAP, even though I dont see them coming to power this election. The only thing I am counting on is that they are challenging the status quo on very real grounds, bringing out issues rather than making promises, leading by example. But I am also very afraid of how rash some of their decisions are. However, given the other two options I have, I would rather put my faith in AAP even if it means “anarchy” and “chaos” because god knows the times we live in are anyway no different.

      • liveonimpulse May 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

        I agree we live in no less anarchy than these AAP people can unleash on us. Only if they were to channel their energies we might see some hope for change.

  3. mincat May 6, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    i refuse to talk about anything political anymore. i just change the subject when someone brings it up. very obviously i might add! every time i contemplate the state of the nation i am left with such terror no! what this tamasha has brought out more than anything is the general ickiness of the desis en masse. scary as fuck.
    aadhar card i peacefull went one morning finished u in half and hour and it came in the post. then again it was in AP, the state with the most tech-enabled govt i’ve seen!

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Thats the other thing that bothers me, we cant do one thing straight, with consistency and dependability. The damn thing barely went off the ground and a million holes were poked in the system and now theyre questioning if we even need the AAdhar Cards at all :-/

      Terror is so right. I just freeze mid-conversation some times. I thnk Im a bit of a masochist for pain in this respect though, because I engage with people about the election all the time, and subject myself to disappointment when my friends turn out to be out and out Modi supporters, or when the gaps in their belief system suddenly get exposed. Its not a happy state of affairs, thats for sure. Im very worried about what is going to happen.

      • mincat May 6, 2014 at 11:59 am #

        actually i am more disappointed by sulky man followers. i mean there is SOME logic to the BJP. but kejriwal?? especially after delhi assembly fiascos?

  4. Nishnu May 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Like I said to you earlier today … Your post stings and saddens me. Cynicism in people who are otherwise happy and optimistic and forward thinking is the worst thing. It means something is genuinely going wrong here.

    Many of my friends have not signed up for the Aadhar card because they’re not keen on giving their information to the govt. Btw have you seen this?

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/rti-finds-chinks-in-aadharlinked-gas-supply/article5979572.ece

    Point to note: “The RTI activist also realised that anybody could get a gas subsidy by telling random Aadhar number.”

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      That article is truly disappointing. Im weary of getting the A-Card for the very same reason. The fact that getting it is compulsorily and unilaterally tied into things like getting gas connections makes it even more suspect to me. if it is supposedly a system to enable people, it really shouldnt be so hard!

      And WOW, I just realised that article is dated to today. Fresh from the circus that is my country!

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      While Im at this RTI business, I might as well raise one to make an enquiry into the gas subsidy system here, no?

      • Nishnu May 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        Yeah you must. It is worth looking into.

  5. Revs May 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    *opens up two bottles of paneer soda and shares one with her namesake* Drink it up babe. I’m tired of the self-glorified NaMo supporters. Anytime I argued with them, I got called a Baby Gandhi supporter(is that a corollary?) or they threw the ‘but you don’t even live here, how does it matter to you’ card. I just gave up. And I go back to drinking my paneer soda these days!

    • hAAthi May 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Amen to that. There is no logic left to this debate, so might as well pop that soda and watch the fun :)

    • Santulan May 7, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      What is this paneer soda that you speak of? Haven’t heard of it before!

      • hAAthi May 7, 2014 at 9:24 am #

        Its not paneer like cottage cheese, but paNNeer actually. Which is this rose essence used to welcome people at weddings and stuff. Is usually mixed with cool water and sprinkled on people as a refresher. Panneer soda is a rose flavoured soda we get in those goli-soda type of thelas in the SOuth. I hope this is what Revs is talking about too :P

        • Santulan May 7, 2014 at 10:22 am #

          I was thinking that it would be like icecream soda, and we’d blend paneer and add soda :P

          This I should try. .I do have the rasna waala rose sharbat and soda.. but have never mixed soda with the essence

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