Indian Elections 2019: Ab ki baar, WhatsApp Sarkar!

If well-educated, middle-class folks with access to the ‘information superhighway’ could boil a bunch of coriander leaves, filter and drink the potion to clean kidneys ‘in one shot’, then pretty much anything is possible.

‘A dark brown stream of piddle that follows when you visit the loo will be proof that your kidneys have been flushed of all toxins’, said the WhatsApp forward.

Small problem here. When he did go, the usual physiological (& logical) output followed, clear as day.

What a waste of dhaniya patti and unsubsidized LPG!

This was few years ago when India was still getting used to the App (not AAP). Now, by the grace of God and Bruce Almighty, millions have access. I wonder how many are unwittingly consuming the equivalent of ‘kidney cleaners’ through various social media channels, convinced the country will be flushed clean of corruption, ‘Lutyen’s club’, liberals, Islamists, dissenting voices, illegal migrants, black money, so on.


“Wait a minute! What’s this ‘Lutyen’s Club? Even I used to stay in Lutyens Delhi one time. Princess Park, Kotah House, SP Marg, DK2…remember?”, I asked my learned friend from Dilli.

“No yaar“, my friend replied, busy updating his status. “We may have been residents of Lutyen’s Delhi but we aren’t that. “Woh saale lutere hain, jinki Modi baja raha hai”, he said.

My moral compass started hunting between South and North Block.

“Babus?”, I ventured. But my friend quickly dashed that one.

“Na na, you won’t understand. You are frog in the well”, he stated, like some new age babaji.

I guess ‘Lutyen’s Club includes sourpusses Lal Krishnaji & Murli-waale baba. I don’t even have an ‘affiliated membership’ card for that one. In any case, nobody’s counting senior citizens without a voice or social media handle.

“Well, good luck with the optimism”, I told my friend who was buried deep into his smartphone, responding to another clueless bloke like me.


Welcome to pre-2019 General Elections India. A country united by thousands of years of history now lies divided by a 56-inch faultline more dangerous than San Andreas Fault in California state. In this ‘Modi’fied and vitiated atmosphere, political discourse is plumbing new lows each day.

I have no love lost for any political party. To me, they all are a bunch of crooks and opportunists. Oh, ok…some muffler-men ventured into politics with starry eyes and ideals. Even they have been waylaid by money, muscle power or stark reality.

I think we may be suffering from bipolar disorder at a national level. Today, India is fighting to take position either side of a thundering 56″ typhoon & a whining raga. Lost in entirety is any modicum (pun intended for the celibate) of respect for opposing views. Gone is the nuance in public debates; drowned in the cacophony of ‘RaGas’ streaming in from either side.

Sans logic has replaced Sans Serif. Lorem Ipsum has given way to ‘bacterium heroworshippum‘ – a phrase tweeted by Journalist Sagarika Ghose. Soon, she was trolled by an army of ‘chowkidaars‘ who called her ‘talwachaaatum Bootlickum‘, ‘Nehru’s spermazoa’, and many other unmentionables. Take a look. And hire chowkidaars for your CHS accordingly. We even have many Chowkidaar Generals today!

https://twitter.com/sagarikaghose/status/1117361477533544448?s=03

“Hey! Whatever happened to TV Mohandas Pai? Wasn’t he that reasonable fellow of Infosys fame with all the eloquence & mental healthcare money can buy? Why is he frothing like a high school bully?!”, I asked my friend.

Tu nahi manega. You are a pseudo-liberal & anti-national”, my friend sentenced me with the finality of a court martial.

Both of us go back a long way. Except for VIP Frenchie underpants, we have shared everything. Ciggies, bunks in ships, Debonair magazine, Blue CDs, cheap rum, expensive girls, everything. We even got screwed in Academy by benevolent dictators and went on to fly modern planes. Suddenly, it all seemed like water under Kochi’s Thevara Bridge.

I beat a hasty retreat into my smartphone. When the going gets tough, it is best today to withdraw into your phone.

Blimey! Another one! This time from Himachal, my favourite hill state! Here, take a look:

Atal Behari Vajpayee (may his soul rest in everlasting peace) must surely be frowning from the blue skies. When did nuance disappear from our public debate? Just when we got used to microphones and chairs being hurled at other parliamentarians, now we have to suffer verbal abuses & invectives that make even those like me from the barracks cringe.

Mind you, tomorrow these guys could be in Parliament. And you could be guinea pig for their political experiments.

Nothing is off the table today. Veiled threats, direct threats (vote for me or else!), khakhi underpants, sexual innuendos, misogyny. Anything goes.

In the run-up to General Elections 2019, I quit all WhatsApp groups & unplugged from FB & Insta months ago fearing that virus. There was temporary relief but no cure. A few hundred propagandist messages still find their way through PMs (personal message, not the suit-boot one).

Now They’re Into Our Bedrooms Too!

You can run but you can’t hide!

It’s reached even our living rooms & bedrooms! 56-inch has replaced 6-inch with no competition worth ‘standing up’ for! Shashi Tharoor, even with a cracked nut, is ‘stiff’ competition today.

“See, even Nirmala Sitharaman visited him in hospital. Such grace! You don’t even have locks like him, forget looks.”, Madhuri lamented.

By now, I am googling Dr. Batra’s magic cure for receding hairline while my political arguments are free falling like the stock market post DeMo. Don’t know what’s tougher: fighting elections or fighting spouses. With a failing memory to boot.

My evening chats with family now invariably leads to the same 56″ faultline and we start mustering for roll-call. Soon, Republic TV or Michelin Chefs take over 🙁

Books, widely quoted during such debates, have never been read by either side. 140-character tweets, NY Times or ‘Foreign Policy’ articles, unverified forwards, morphed videos and crafty Op Eds – all from some fake factory – are the new ordnance. Fire away!

The influence of such propaganda is grossly understated. The other day, one of my ageing relatives argued vociferously that ‘demonetization’ was a ‘masterstroke’ by Mr. 56″. At 80 yrs, he ran around banks and ATMs for weeks under the scorching Palakkad sun while we worried for his health. Now he’s arguing for the protagonist like he was some Robinhood! For good measure, I also received a lecture on how ‘millions of poor farmers’ now had savings bank accounts and Aadhar cards, thanks to ‘a PM with balls’.

I look around. For days, we’ve been trying to find a person to climb tall coconut trees, get the nuts down, harvest mangoes, maintain the estate, get the plumbing fixed…you know, the basic stuff? All our ‘dependable’ helpers are now living on MNREGA & other government doles. Figuratively, they’re telling us, “go climb a tree”. Wish I could. Everyday, he faces the same brunt of high-handed Panchayat officials and mai-baap culture. Yet, that’s what draws him to Mr. 56″.

Slowly, the sun sets on a discussion leading nowhere. Dad retires to his room after putting padlocks on 3-tiered, iron-grilled doors; fearing thugs who may arrive unannounced at the doorstep of his blogging son-in-law. I retire to mine; with a smartphone and 4G connection that mocks ‘JIO nahi toh jhelo mere LOL’ 😛

Sense has left us. It’s been replaced by small green blurbs and blue tweety birds on a smartphone.

Ab ki baar, WhatsApp sarkaar.

**************

©KP Sanjeev Kumar, 2019. All rights reserved. I can be reached at kipsake1@gmail.com. Views are personal. Cover art by ace cartoonist Anshuman Chatterjee. Image used with permission.

kaypius

I am a full time aviator and part time writer. Between some real flights & some flights of fancy, this blog took birth. If you like it, great! If not, come back later and I may have something better for you! Happy reading!

4 thoughts on “Indian Elections 2019: Ab ki baar, WhatsApp Sarkar!

  • April 18, 2019 at 16:54
    Permalink

    Brilliant
    Enjoyed reading it

    Reply
  • April 18, 2019 at 17:24
    Permalink

    KPS citizens do not have much choice to vote for during the elections. Choose the supposedly best amongst the known crooks. You have nicely described the agony of the biggest festival of democracy. Cheers

    Reply
  • April 18, 2019 at 19:35
    Permalink

    “Today, India is fighting to take position either side of a thundering 56″ typhoon & a whining raga.”

    Actually, there are two more horses in the race :
    1. Nitin Gadkari — If, as is likely, there is a hung Parliament, he is the front runner.

    2. Dark Horse — Remember Deve Gowda ? Inder Gujral ?

    Reply
  • April 19, 2019 at 19:57
    Permalink

    Apparently, I overslept when our country drifted to a Presidential form of government!.

    My limited civic education in school stated things differently where elected MPs would be responsible to address local concerns of their constituencies. (In some countries, its even mandatory for MPs to physically stay in consitutencies that elected them to power). If local concerns of citizens were to be addressed by honourable PM, directly or indirectly, that should have been part of respective party manifestos. But sadly, since it isn’t the case, local agendas are merely for selective highlighting in media sessions/advertisements/election rallies that requires spit polish effort in a slice of time without a serious attempt to liquidate.

    So, we elect a PM and not a responsible MP to address local issues, who therefore musn’t be held accountable as she/he is merely populace’s route to elect a PM. (I guess most of the audience here won’t even recall credentials of MP they voted (if)/would vote).

    Since we don’t elect MPs for local issues but for a prime ministerial candidate, we seldom have our local concerns addressed at either forum. Finishing a tenure, there won’t be an opportunity to ask honourable PM of our leftover concerns!.

    We continue to stand with a forever status quo; a deliberately structured trend diverting focus of even responsible citizens with Whatsapp university helping the cause.

    Thanks

    Reply

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