Election time is almost upon us. The quintessential black money bonanza model-to-the-rest-of-the-world event promises to bring with it winds of change. These winds are largely from the collective sighs of relief of not having to listen to election speeches.
The elections, however, clash with another overblown circus with overpaid protagonists - the Indian Premier League. So come April, there's going to be one hell of a battle alright, and see who can get maximum people. No, I'm not talking about Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi, or BJP vs Congress - the actual battle is going to be between the elections and the IPL. Of course, there are many similarities, starting with large corporate funding in both scena… Er… Okay, let's move on.
Election time can be tough on some of us. Many of us do not follow politics, preferring entertainment (This flummoxes me, because to my mind, politics provides the best entertainment in the country). So while everyone is supposed to be clued in to what's happening, have a well-informed political decision, have a favourite newspaper editorial stance and suchlike, there are many of us who don't even know yet that Andhra Pradesh is being split up. Or that Abdul Kalam is no longer the President (or was it Prime Minister?). Or the full form of UPA (More such charming references can be had from the television advertisement of a certain newspaper).
It is for those people, who, scared to come out to society that they're clueless about politics, that I've made this handy little cheat sheet. Follow it, and you'll be at par with friends who waste hours poring through meaty tomes, and hold your own in pub conversations (except in Gujarat – where you’ll have dhaba conversations).
1. Do NOT reference 2002 or 1984. That's so passe now, even the BJP and Congress PR machineries have stopped using it. That's like saying your favourite Led Zeppelin song is Stairway To Heaven. It's for the n00bs. To show how well-read you are, it's Gujarat development statistics, FDI and women's empowerment you want.
2. Write a long-winded update on Facebook praising Arvind Kerjiwal. It doesn't matter if you don't know any of his policies (nobody did, anyway). Just talk about what a wonderful idea it is, how he was a David that stood up in the face of Goliaths, his refreshing simplicity, must give him a chance, etc.
Next day, write a critique of Arvind Kejriwal talking about how his policies are flawed and he lives in a Utopia where there are absolute majorities and free Wagon Rs for everyone.
Both updates will get you 200 likes on Facebook.
3. Want to sound really well-read? Talk with a serious face about how the third front could actually be a credible threat to the BJP and Congress. To substantiate, just put three alphabets together to make a political party up and say their politics is one of compromise which is 'Vajpayee-esque'. Nobody will know the wiser.
4. Show your extent of thinking by praising the Chief Election Commissioners rather than the politicians. Say how he (like umpires in cricket) are the true heroes and must be saluted.
Another 50 likes and immense respect points for the taking.
5. Keep your remote handy while watching television, with particular focus on the 'mute' button.
6. If you see anyone reading a newsmagazine, talk about how the exit poll methodologies are all wrong. If challenged, just say "the sample size is all wrong". Nobody except people in market research know what that means, and people working in market research are too busy to be reading a newsmagazine in any case.
7. Share a video, and use Upworthy-style headlines. Such as: "Rahul Gandhi gave a speech. You won't believe how the crowd reacts.", "An RSS supporter went to a Muslim area. What follows is truly epic" or "An AAP supporter went to a police station. What happens next will warm the cockles of your heart".
8. Write an article referencing five freedom fighters. If anyone does not know any one of these, he will lose self-esteem and will consider that the rest of your article is awesome.
9. Troll the 'tards. Go to any article on the internet where there's an AAP-BJP slugfest and troll them. This is immense fun. Besides, all that paid help has to… Er… Okay, moving on.
10. Post links of random political articles, and put just 'Read.' in the update. This gives the impression of you being savvy and broad-minded. Keywords in the article headline that will give you bonus points: Economy, Raghuram Rajan, effect of Ukraine, Irom Sharmila, why you should vote.
And of course, remember - the IPL is just a click of a button away. Enjoy the election season tamasha!
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Deepak Gopalakrishnan aka Chuck is a Mumbai-based cartoonist, blogger and green chilli aficionado.
He tweets here