A vote for freedom
‘This is a historic day. I’m proud to tell you we Delhi voters have struck a huge blow for freedom, one that will reverberate all around the country,’ said a chap, proudly holding up his ink-stained finger. Seeing our puzzled looks, he explained, ‘See, we are soon going to have free power, free water, free w-fi, free education, free vegetables, free milk. That’s an enormous amount of freedom.’ But a grizzled old man disagreed. ‘I just want Delhi to become a world-class city,’ he said, adding he was immensely proud of the sleek new airport terminal. To our query whether he belonged to the locality, he replied, ‘Of course. I’m an unemployed professor of economics living with my family underneath that flyover.’
Voting for the most beautiful
‘After Kiran Bedi said Modi’s is the world’s most beautiful face, I knew whom I had to vote for,’ said a pretty young thing coming out of the booth. This was hotly contested by other voters. ‘Why should you privilege the face over other qualities?’ asked a feminist voter, adding she liked Kejriwal’s cute figure. Another voter concurred. ‘Absolutely. Nobody cares much about the face these days. There are other, more important, parts of the anatomy. Look at Kim Kardashian,’ he said.
A caste-less election
‘The best part about this election,’ said a chap in Chhattarpur who looked like a village elder, ‘is that nobody is bothered about the candidate’s caste.’ ‘Look,’ he explained, ‘most of us here are Gujjars and the candidates from the three big parties — the BJP, AAP and Congress — are all Gujjars. So nobody will vote on a caste basis. What’s more, they’re all related to each other. There’s a wonderful brotherly feeling around.’ To another voter’s pointed query about gotra, he said, ‘Gotra is not caste. It’s a completely different thing.’ A sociology professor who had come out to vote clarified that India was in the process of transformation from a caste-ist society to a gotra-ist one.
The booze factor
‘Don’t beat me up, please,’ pleaded a labourer coming out of the voting booth, ‘I really wanted to vote for you but I had no idea who you were.’ When we said we were from the media, he heaved a sigh of relief. ‘See, as usual,’ he explained, ‘I was all set to vote for the party that supplied me with the highest amount of free booze.’ ‘But then,’ he added, ‘a strange thing happened. They all started denying the booze was theirs and instead said it was the other party’s. How on earth was I to know whose hooch I was drinking? That’s why I voted NOTA.’
‘It’s a very tough choice,’ sighed a professor of English despondently after voting. ‘Who will turn out to be better — Mr Sanctimonious or Ms Smug? Which is the quality that is more desirable — being a prig, or being insufferably self-righteous? Is being holier-than-thou important in a chief minister, or is it beating-one’s-drum? Not to mention goody-goody and prissy.’
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal