Elections, elections, elections. Bas ab ho gaya.
I was sipping on a RaGa snoozer mocktail, munching on Modichoor laddoos and wondering if shouting on TV news shows could ever become an Olympic sport.
You know we have a sure-shot gold medal potential, don’t you? Just then Chaddha ji dropped in. "Har taraf Modi aa gayi", he squealed with delight. "Aa gayi? I was about to question him on this gender massacre of the new Prime Minister when I remembered it was Chaddha ji speaking. Apart from having the licence to say all things senseless, he also had the habit of eating up words in a sentence, and had conveniently gobbled up 'wave' from 'Modi aa gayi'.
"Aa gayi ji, aa gayi'... I nodded. 'Aapne kisko daala tha?' he asked. Now, I’m always amazed by the propensity of us Indians to ask personal questions, whether it is blatantly asking someone their age or salary, to asking when someone is planning to give ‘good news’ to, of course, ‘who did you vote for?’ in the world’s largest secret ballot process. ‘I always voted for the one who has won,’ I replied. ‘1991 ke baad pehli baar achhe din aane waale hain,’ he said.
Before I could wonder about the electoral significance of 1992, he said, ‘meri shaadi hui thi us saal,’ and went on to give himself a high-five for the joke.
Ever tried a self hi-five? It’s called clapping.
Anyway, Chaddha ji’s euphoria was indicative of an unprecedented buzz around politics that I’ve seen in these elections. Regardless of which party they supported, people were generally all-consumed by the tremendous energy of the overall election process.
From the rickshaw-wallahs to the morning-walkers in the park, from the beauty parlour aunty to my maid who literally fought with me insisting that she was taught in school that Indira Gandhi was Mahatma Gandhi’s daughter and so we must vote for her party for Bapu’s sake, it was elections jo ab toh hamare naak-munh-kaan se nikal rahe hain.
And when something consumes people so much, there is bound to be that now-it’s-over-what-will-we-talk-about kind of low feeling. And where there’s a low feeling, there are calmness tips by your’s truly. Here we go.
1 Accept it. respect it: Elections are like a game. Just the stakes are much higher and outcome much more critical. Still, much as in a match in a stadium, the team you supported may win or lose, but what decides whether the crowd won or lost is how gracefully they accepted the result. So whether you supported Rahul or Modi or Kejri, or someone else, we now have a new sarkar. One which has the mandate of most people. Accept it, respect it. If you have been a Modi supporter, grace lies in not flaunting your win in someone else’s face. If you’ve been a supporter of those who lost, grace lies not in sulking, but living with it with hope, and a smile.
2 Don’t over-expect: Wish for miracles, but don’t expect them. You know what our problem in life is? Hum khwaab dekhte hi unke poore hone ki shart rakh dete hain. That makes God jittery, it makes us vulnerable. Expecting overnight miracles in performance from anyone – an employee, a partner, a child, and least of all a government – does nothing but set you up for disappointment. Plus, it puts a completely unjustified pressure on the one who is expected to perform. We did it to the AAP government in Delhi, it turned out to be unfair to them, and unfair to us. You’ve now brought in a new government with a lot of hope. Let’s give them time, space – and most importantly faith – to turn that hope into reality. If in a few days, we get back to cribbing about the rotten ‘system’ without realising that it’s we who make the system, this whole spiel about achhe din would start to seem like an advertising slogan that faded away with time. The government is here to drive things, to guide and implement policies in the right spirit, but achhe din toh aap ko khud hi laane padenge, with the change in your attitude. Ask yourself if you are ready.
3 Move on: We’ve been breathing, eating, sleeping elections in the last couple of months. Ab ho gaya bas. There are other good things in life that are waiting for your attention now, like bechara IPL. Bechari Himesh Reshammiya’s film. Bechare family members who pounce on the TV remote to change the channel from election news analysis to something else when you take a loo break.
Well, take a longer break now, and move on to non-political things for a change. Go on a holiday (you might still bump into an ex-minister, since a lot of them are left with only vacation on their agenda), go off Twitter/Facebook for a week, refuse to tune into screaming panelists on TV news channels, or pursue a hobby that doesn’t require any electronic gadget.
Basically, remove yourself from whatever you’ve been obsessing with, in the past few weeks. Trust me, aapke bina bhi sarkar ban jayegi. That was not for you, Mr Modi. You please carry on.
Sonal Kalra is already preparing to contest the 2019 elections. Her election symbol will be a finger... on the lips.
Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sonalkalra13.
Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.