The image of the Google Doodle obstinately sticking a single ink-stained finger up on the screen through the cruellest month, April, to the middle of May had begun to look tiresome. And the protracted election exercise was playing tricks on my mind, starting with the Google Doodle. It didn’t look quite right to me: I began to argue with myself that it was sticking its middle finger up not the index finger ever so slyly! My family and friends chose to ignore my claims but in order to determine and validate my theory I began peering at the Google Doodle surreptitiously to catch it unawares. This obsession pervaded my dreams and turned them into nightmares. And the avaricious appetite of the media and social media extensions to capture the exhibits of all those manicured fingers with “casted”, “done-it”, “did-it”, “voted” exclamations for five and half weeks did no good either.
If a week is a long time in politics, a month and half, then, is hellish eternity. Those men and women (a woefully short line there) who campaigned long and hard for the Lok Sabha in hot, muggy conditions had to then agonizingly, excruciatingly wait longer for the results. Some of them have had to wait for 40 days. In other words, the absurdity of that oxymoron, chilling in the summer heat, was beginning to take its toll—unravelling many a politician.
There is no cure, they say, for this new strain of Election Fever. The coping mechanisms were not in place for a country of this size- it had never witnessed this kind of collective hyper-tension ever before. One would argue that Independent India’s first general election in 1951-52 stretched for over quarter of a year—four months to be exact. But back then, the Election Fever was well contained, for television channels, social media and exit polls had yet to come into existence so the Indian voter went about his daily routine—ploughing the field, selling tea or whatever, in the interlude between voting and counting day.