I’m home. If this is it.
The extremely short summer vacation has come to an end, and perhaps it was made all the more engaging by the limit of its duration. Out of the dust, the heat and the chaos in the cloudy environs of Singapore- and guess what? I seem to have brought some sunshine along.
I landed at the brilliant, spanking, controversial Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad, Hyderabad in the early hours of April 4. Midnight doesn’t show you much in terms of traffic, but you can feel your bones rattle as you are jolted over the potholes and the orange dust rises from the ground and makes its way into your nostrils, hair and eyes. You see the green eyes of a cow caught in the headlights of the car in the middle of the road. You hear the incessant, mostly unnecessary honking and the rumble of huge trucks. And then you know, you’re back home.
Election time coupled with the summer season is not exactly the best time to be in India, especially if you need to go outdoors pretty often. What with the rallies, the manifestos sung out in folk tunes and the heat beating down on your head and your back and every possible inch of bare skin, it is quite easy to be driven up the wall.
However, with my new-found optimism aiding me, I was able to make the most of it all. Come election time, news channels become extremely entertaining. There are the exaggerated gestures and the rolling eyeballs of anchors standing by the caravans of various political parties, drenched dupattas and shirts reminding you that journalism is not always as glamorous as it looks. Endless poll predictions, bar graphs, pie charts, statistics. Kurta-pyjamas, tilak and garlands. Speeches full of empty promises. And of course, the digs politicians take at one another, which make you wonder why you’re even watching the news. Really, will these people ever get serious? Words and shoes are flying back and forth, and were they eventually to make a difference, perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much. As of now, though, the news is just to be watched for the entertainment quotient. Yogendra Yadav and Rajdeep Sardesai can go berserk with their predictions and projections, Mallika Sarabhai can try to make a difference, Chiranjeevi can try to be yet another actor-turned-politician attempting to stay on in the limelight, Shashi Tharoor can try and tread high moral ground in Congress colours after his neutral stint with the UN. In the end, things won’t change much. The real permutation and combination will begin after the polls, broken alliances will mend automatically, sworn enemies will swear eternal friendship, Vaiko’s fiery speeches will be forgotten, Laloo will be a useful ally again, the next round of games will be flagged off.
And we’ll be taken for a ride, yet again.