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.