Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new old start

In the run up to the elections, more than ever, I’ve had people come to my blog to accuse me of being elite or not talking about “issues”. I want to explain something to all these wonderful people. This is MY blog. Perhaps you find me “elite” because by sheer twist of fate I went to a good school, then with a whopping 92% got into Stephens, managed other schools, grad schools and ended up working with brands like The Indian Express, Al Jazeera, PBS. Perhaps you would also be livid to know that I am currently doing a course at NYU to hone my editing skills.

Call it what you want. I work hard and most of the time, I get good work. Sometimes, I don’t – that is the risk. But I do my thing. Hopefully, I do it well.

And when I write on my blog, I write about the world as I see it. I don’t grudge other people their opinions. But I guess it is what it is, it does make for interesting reading.

Anyway, I actually flew out the day before elections. I voted for the first time – well, I was under 21 the last time we went to the polls. It was a great experience, especially the proud smiles everyone gave each other.

I was hoping this government would continue. My father had a very different view; he believes Manmohan Singh is a weak PM. I have my reasons, but mostly, I find this alternative better. I had a minor debate with another blogger recently about (again) how I was elite-baba log for not supporting Mayawati. I told him, I have no issue that she is doing well (not so much, as this election revealed), but I am not ready to have her represent me on an international stage.

I’m pretty bummed out I missed the countdown. I had booked my tickets a while ago, and hadn’t paid attention to the dates.

I had personally predicted a Congress win (although it was based on a feeling) because of one simple reason. I have no data to back it up. I traveled a bunch all of last year, and one thing I noticed in equal measure all over the country was that there was construction everywhere. Seriously. And that told me that people saw some movement in their lives. And if the going is good… why mess with it. This time, there was a lot of talk about development. A former colleague of mine from the Express told me that some people were worried that Nitish Kumar would not be voted back because he was developing the state. Why, I asked. She said that when people’s expectations rise, another guy will come and claim that he can take it further. And people might be tempted to work for the one with the maximum promise. A few weeks later, in fact, on the way to my polling booth, my father was talking about anti-incumbency. I told him, in my opinion, that concept did not really exist anymore, and people would not vote for the sake of it. I can say that because Delhi has voted for Mrs Dikshit only because of all the work she has done. It is so visible! And taking that logic further, when I saw work everywhere I traveled, I figured it must prove favorable to the government of the day.

There is another thing. I thought the political situation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks was handled quite well – Chidambaram as Home Minister, and also out diplomatic discussions with Pakistan. I was not one of the people who wanted to see a knee-jerk reaction.

So I’m a happy camper for the moment.