Election Fever (BH: D300)
May 31, 2012
My new regular India gig (more about it in a few days) takes me through parts of the city I had rarely visited all my life here. Universe beyond Karamana junction didn't exist for me during school days.
Two days of commuting have impressed with the busy life in areas like Kaimanon, Nemom, Karakkamandapam, Pappanamcode, Vellayani and Pravachambalam. Decades ago, these used to be place names I heard on the radio when folks from there placed requests for songs in "Ishtaganangal". I remember entire families used to write in for certain songs. Felt fake at that time.
But as traffic inches through the narrow two lane highway that connects Thiruvananthapuram to Kanyakumari, I long for families that would request soothing songs. Instead the FM station in the stuffy Bolero that smells faintly like a wet dog (it had rained heavily two nights ago, backseat window must have been open) repeatedly reminds that it is world No-Tobacco Day. Some "chechi" who suggested the slogan "Put out tobacco before it puts you out!" won the slogan contest.
The route passes through the heartland of Neyyatinkara constituency where elections are due the day after. Hotly contested and relevant! The state has been reeling under price hikes (blame the UDF) and the gruesome murder of T.P. Chandrasekharan (blame the LDF). The BJP tries to capitalize by fielding yet again their veteran candidate O. Rajagopal.
On the flux boards, cut outs and ubiquitous political posters, Rajagopal is the odd man out. The other two, Selvaraj and Lawrence, have more Tamilian than Malayali looks if one were to ascribe reality to those stereotypes. Actually the places listed above progressively lean more towards a Tamil culture, progressively used strictly in the geographical sense. The color combinations do become high contrast. Buses and business have Tamil writing.
At home, prep work for my sister's impending hospital trip and delivery are underway. Exciting times!
Posted by Arun Surendran