The Election-Crazy Confused Desi


The Election-Crazy Confused Desi

Illustration: Rutuja Patil/ Arré

What a time to be alive! The Indian electorate seems to be, for the first time in remembered history, more politically charged than a battery pack in the Parliament. Except, it’s about the US presidential election.

For the past year, I’ve been walking in and out of conversations that discuss Hillary’s crooked history and Trump’s racist, sexist rants with the level of detail and confidence that I usually reserve for talking about The Simpsons, the only subject in the world that I know everything about.

At first, it was refreshing to see the millennial brigade excited about stuff beyond Starbucks and Snapchat. But now, after months of acerbic back and forth, controversy creating and mongering later, I no longer partake in these debates. While my social circle devolves into a pentagram that summons the worst points and counterpoints that anyone can come up with for both candidates, I’m usually found in a corner, contemplating the fragile nature of existence.

When did my people become so political-minded about the goings-on in another country? Anyway, the horror of finding public debate in all parties forevermore made me turn to the closest bro. He looked asphyxiated with his own diatribe because nobody was listening to him about how the Democrats nixed Bernie’s candidacy, like all Bernie supporters in the world. I asked him, “Hey, this is cool, but you know about what’s going on with the seven sisters?”

He looked at me strange, “You mean like… Joey Tribbiani’s sisters?”

I blinked for a full minute before I said, “No, just, no. Our country’s seven sisters, man.”

He nodded knowingly and turned to the party to scream, “Bro no more booze here. Nim is smashed, man.”

Have a public debate where Modiji says he will make India great again and Behenji says he’d only make Gujaratis great again because he hates Dalits.

Nim was not smashed, but her notion that the internet is making everyone smarter, was. However the question still loomed, louder than Trump’s power tie: Why the fuck do we keep talking about this election?

I have a theory.

In the last few months, the American election has become the world’s first live-action rendition of Cowboys & Aliens with all the makings of a cheap, badly written, explosives-and-CGI-laden schlockfest. Trump is the big, evil villain, openly announcing his hatred for everyone who is not Caucasian. Hillary is his strong female adversary with a dark past, trying to keep the nuclear codes away from Trump’s tiny fingers. I’m assuming Melania is all CGI because that’s the only reasonable explanation for why she has displayed all of three feelings throughout this campaign. Ted Cruz is obviously the Zodiac Killer.

They keep bickering with each other on Twitter, Trump paints a word picture of the world as he sees it, and we realise that the Hunger Games may soon become our lives. Hillary appeals to our Bharat-mata-on-crack sensibility because she’s fighting a tyrant and her husband has raised the bar for dropping passive-aggressive hints about wanting to leave your wife. But she sticks to you for life, like a benign mole on your face. All we’re waiting for is a Tom Cruise-type champion to come salvage humanity from the rubble of this fallout. Here’s looking at you, John Oliver.

Now our leaders back home, who have forever been exhorting that the Indian electorate should get off its lazy ass and start giving at least three fucks about the Indian election, should take a page out of the Great American Election’s book. There’s a way to spin polls, guys, and there’s an opportunity staring you right in the face.

The next big election on the Indian circuit will be in the Republic of Uttar Pradesh, and it is ripe for just the kind of high-stakes courtly drama that we are witnessing in America. The BJP has already decided that they will keep their CM candidate a secret, until after the results are in. Which means that they have no option but to put their game face on: Prime Minister Modi will be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Maybe we can rebrand Mr Modi, as the most eligible bachelor in the country with the campaign tagline: “The man who can find the solution to all our economic problems… but can he find love?” On the other side we have Behen Mayawati. The champion of the downtrodden, “the woman who just wants equal rights for everybody” – except general category students thriving under the privilege of being born in an upper caste. Make Modi tweet to “crooked” behenji, make Mayawati delete privileged information about how she spends our crores on handbags, diamond necklaces, and statues of herself wearing said handbags and necklaces. Have a public debate where Modiji says he will make India great again and Behenji says he’d only make Gujaratis great again because he hates Dalits. Take a pasty white Hollywood offering and add some good old Indian masala.

If this is what it takes to get us animated about what’s going on in our own backyard, I say let’s do it. And let’s call it… Avengers 2: Kalyug Ka Mahayuddh.