Inking impressions

Updated: Apr 29, 2019, 05:43 IST | Fiona Fernandez | Mumbai

What thoughts are going through the minds of our fave sutradhars as the city goes to the polls today?

Fiona Fernandez"All set for V-Day, Pheroze?" Lady Flora asked her friend and walking companion Sir PM; after all, the statue chronicler had witnessed so many such elections dates in recent and distant memory, and was plain happy to be a spectator all over again as the country goes to the polls.

"Aren't we a little too old for Valentine's Day, Lady?" replied a shocked Sir PM, wondering what was expected of him. "Oh dear. Not that V-Day. I was referring to V-for-Voting Day, Pheroze. Isn't it fascinating to watch as Bombay gears up to send its representatives to the Lok Sabha?" Lady Flora asked, unable to contain her excitement.

"You are right, Lady. It is a historical date for all of us. Though I will miss the opportunity to get my finger inked to be eligible to vote, I expect citizens to go out in large numbers and vote. They owe it to democracy. It is our privilege and our right. Look at countries like Saudi Arabia and North Korea where the voice of the common man is unheard," exclaimed Sir PM, stepping into his legal avatar. Lady PM smiled; she loved this side of her friend.

As they walked around their favourite parts of Fort and Colaba, their concerns seemed to echo each other's, post election results. Will the pace of the Metro work slacken or hasten, depending on who comes to power? What about Aarey's threatened forests? And will the city's skyscraper boom reach even bigger heights? How will the common man be served for his/her basic needs that have for long been ignored despite paying their taxes? And, finally, the rail commuter — will they see a better, cleaner train ride?

"I'll tell you something Pheroze, I've witnessed countless elections, but never before have I sensed such intelligence and awareness from voters. It's a good sign, don't you think?" she prodded. "Oh yes, Lady. Indeed it is. After all, in these days of modern phones and other devices whose names I have yet to come around to pronounce, forget being able to decipher their use, it seems that the voter is more than two steps ahead of his/her candidate. They are refusing to blindly believe their promises and manifestos. It adds up to an intriguing time, once the results are out," he replied. "And that's why I love this city," Lady Flora added.

Both sutradhars decided to approach their friends Dr Viegas and Gargoyle for their two bits on the biggest electoral show on earth. It was close to dawn, and as usual, Dr Viegas, was standing by the newspaper stand near his pedestal. "Ah, there you are, brother. So what does your medical brain tell you about this election?" Sir PM asked his old friend.

"Pheroze, this time, even I am refraining from making any predictions. It's a tricky election, and with so many colourful, new entrants in the fray, I am unwilling to predict any winner, be it the city or the nation. But I can guarantee it won't be an easy ride for the left or right of centre. It's not good for my sinuses," he quickly added.
Gargoyle, who had accompanied them from his vantage point, was equally cautious. "From where I sit at the terminus, it's tough to eavesdrop or get a pulse of the commuter's mind but this I can safely say — they want a much-improved Bombay. Enough is enough. The poor citizen has been taken for a rough ride for too long."

"Well, Lady and dear gentlemen, there's one thing we must also be wary about – this ugly frenzy of renaming landmarks in the city. I hope we don't have to witness another phase. Or else, I will become Sir Pandurang Mhatre, and you will be called Falguniben Fountain, Dr Vengurlekar and Gargare, respectively. I doubt my heart will be able to withstand that sort of shock," Sir PM thundered, in a rare moment of rage.

They looked at each and hoped to be spared the trauma. "Bombay deserves a rethink of its civic polity and policy," Lady Flora summed up proceedings, "And I hope this great city won't let its people down."

mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana
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