AWRITE ELECTION SEASON! For the next two months, I will begin every single column with those words. Know that I say them with the feigned enthusiasm of a groom bending for the millionth guest at his wedding reception. But I must say them all the same because this is a Serious NewspaperTM (unless you’re reading this online, in which case, it is a Serious WebsiteJ) I have been informed by friends in marketing that as a comedian I must “garner eyeballs” during election season. The problem is, marketing people do not explain these terms to you and just expect you to know what “garner eyeballs” means. So if the man whose eyes I gouged out last night is reading this, I apologise. (But he lives in Mankhurd, so technically I’ve improved his quality of life.)
Historical ride: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal created history by becoming the first Aam Aadmi in the history of Aam Aadmis in Mumbai to get an auto that went by meter from the airport. Pic/PTI
I digress. My point is, to garner eyeballs (I have dropped the quotes to indicate how quickly I adapt to new lingo) in election season, this column must offer readers ‘Political Analysis’. And it cannot be random political analysis, it must be astute political analysis. As everyone here knows, “astute” political analysis means any political analysis with an angle of less than 90 degrees. And as geometry teaches us, all political analysis with an angle of greater than 90 degrees is known as “Arnab”. But enough with the bad puns, I don’t want to be mistaken for Narendra Modi’s speechwriter. Without further ado, here is some political analysis:
Political Analysis #1: It has been roughly two weeks since the Election Code of Conduct came into effect, which means we are two weeks into election season. There are two more months of this circus to go.
Political Analysis #2: I'm already sick of everyone and everything involved in it, and if Rahul Gandhi says “women’s empowerment” one more time, I will shoot myself.
Everywhere I go, every conversation I have turns political. Which would be fine if any of the chatter made sense, or sounded like reasoned debate. But in a country where not even one of the people vying to be our next PM has done anything to write home about, all there is, is chest-beating and vague catchphrases. For example, nobody even uses the word “Congress” anymore, they just say corruption, as in “Corruption ko hataana hai yaar” or “My wife and I had excellent sexual corruption last night”. And when Narendra Modi comes up, everyone mumbles “development”. When you ask what development, the answer is usually “Um, uh, developed development of the developmental develoption, um, LOOK! MEGHNA PATEL!”
And then, earlier this week, Arvind Kejriwal created history by becoming the first Aam Aadmi in the history of Aam Aadmis in Mumbai to get an auto that went by meter from the airport AND a window seat on a local train on the same day. With due respect to what may or may not have been a sincere gesture, we get it Mr K, you’re an ordinary guy with an ordinary muffler that loves doing warm fuzzy ordinary things in ordinary clothes with an ordinary 70’s adult video star moustache. But do you have to ordinarily be so ordinarily theatrical about the whole ordinary thing? What next? A rousing anti-corruption speech while performing your morning constitutional on the tracks at Mahim? Or a TV interview while having a fistfight with the guy who won’t give you a gas cylinder connection?
And here is my final piece of astute political analysis; the “development” joke about Modi and the “ordinary” joke about Kejriwal use the exact same joke technique. This is not laziness, it is a demonstration of the fact that all political parties also use the exact same technique to keep your attention; tamaasha (women’s empowerment) and nonsense (women’s empowerment), bludgeoned into your (women’s empowerment) head by people (women’s empowerment!!!!) who have little (WOMEN! POWER!) else to show for (FEMALE POWER RANGERS!) their time (Spice Girls) in office. Here endeth the lesson. And if you’re wondering who to vote for, my Serious Newspaper Political Analysis says vote for the auto-guy who went by meter from the airport. Because that there is a once in a lifetime phenomenon.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi