Cartoon by Jayanto: Netas' stress buster.
Some swear by desi malish and champi, many others the more upmarket massage, but the not so disparate stress busters are the mantra for most candidates engrossed in the rough and tumble of Uttar Pradesh polls.
The touch therapy along with right clothes, makeup and food habits is keeping the candidates at their combative best amid the punishing grind of rallies, party meetings and hours of strategising.
Some candidates have resorted to relaxing body spa, head massages, facials and specialised pedicures. Many others are relying on medicines and even traditional cures.
Juhie Singh, the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow East, says, "It is the family help's head massage every night that relieves me of all the stress."
Singh also relies on granny's ubtan (face pack).
Another candidate who does not want to be named says, "There isn't much time for facials. But body massage and pedicure is something that can't be avoided. More than the care, they are the best to shed all tiredness."
On the campaign trail, candidates' throats take a battering. Flavoured soothers and a warm water gargle is what some are resorting to.
Sunita Singh, a candidate from Bakshi Ka Talab, says, "There isn't much time for any care. But a gargle and dinner with family over TV is what helps me relax these days."
Some candidates such as Neeraj Bora are also turning inward for strength and peace. Bora, a Congress candidate, says, " Half-an-hour of meditation is what keeps me energetic throughout the day."
He also takes naps while travelling and a foot massage with the vibrator at night helps keep him on his toes.
Abhishek Mishra, a Lucknow north candidate, says, "A hot shower and a bit of reading is all to keep me going."