When it’s all a joke, laughter is the best medicine

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Accusations, allegations, assurances, charges, claims,  innuendos, promises, rebuttals, venom, vitriol… will all rain down on the hapless voter as Karnataka slips into serious election mode.

But how does an untrained ear and untrained eye cope with the pre-monsoon torrent of words and images, all designed to drench you with hope and rob you of your vote?

One way is to grin and bear it and live with it. After all, what is the option, when every newspaper and TV channel, every wall, hoarding and pamphlet, will be  purveying the same grim faces?

The other way is to laugh it away, by looking at it as yet another episode in a long-running mega serial, and hope it will match the soap operas in entertainment value.

For proof, pick a leaf out of pen-pushers who have perfected the art of turning adversity into advantage—and survived to tell the tale.

Unlike voters who only have to confront politicians once in a while, hacks have had to put up with all sorts of political characters—the good, the bad, the shady and the boring—for years on end.

What has enabled them to stay sane in this ocean of insanity is this little trick.

Many of us attend press conferences, meetings, conferences, seminars knowing fully well that the politician who has called it or is presiding over it, will hardly offer anything news worthy. But we would be failing in our professional duties if we skip, so we go to seek a balm from the tedium of the day.

In much the same manner, the enlightened voter can brave the next 40 days.

Open your paper and switch on your television to see longtime partners two-timing each other, turncoats happily stabbing old friends, to see mountains being made of molehills, castles being built in the air, the old and infirm hopping fences with alacrity to greener pastures depending on the political breeze.

In short, look at the coming downpour as a little lesson in life.

It might sound cynical. After all, you might argue, there are politicians who still have some merit, some depth, some vision, some honest intentions. Yes, there are, but they are few and far between.

So, till they grab your attention, while they try to grab your attention, you will have to make do. What you will see over the next few days is the survival of the most elastic. And what will help you survive them is a smile on your lip.

And a silent prayer.