The beauty of election results

For newspapers, results day was when they sold the highest number of copies.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

KOCHI: By the time you read this column, the dust would have settled. The shouting matches, the online trolling, the numbers moving up and down, the logos of political parties - they would all have been replaced with cat videos. But this one day - the day of Election Results - is the only day when you get to see the beauty of democracy. No matter which party you support, or how ambivalent you are towards politics - the day of Elections Results is the one day when the cards are flipped. When the powerful feel helpless; when the hunters become the hunted.

I have been tracking election results from 2004, when I was in school. My father is passionate about politics, and would be deputed on ‘election duty’. He took pride in it, and often told us never to reveal who we voted for. Back then, I had no inkling that I’d go on to become a journalist. But I have always been fascinated with this day. I have watched videos from the ‘80s, when political leaders would appear on Doordarshan to discuss the results, and accept defeat calmly, while congratulating the winners.

By the time I started following politics, newspapers were where the game was. For newspapers, results day was when they sold the highest number of copies. Different papers were bought and compared at our home - each with their own analysis, columns and pictographs. Large, red headlines filled the page, and cartoonists had a field day - without fear of being trolled or jailed.

We gradually moved on to Cable TV, which was comparatively a calmer experience compared to today’s Summer SmackDown style of journalism. A few geriatric psephologists spoke about the trends to explain the results, as orange, green, and blue colours flooded our screens. Since TV channels were the only popular form of mass-media at the time, the power still remained in your hands. If you got bored, you could always shift to 9XM to watch AR Rahman’s latest soundtrack.

You gradually dozed off, and called your friends to ask them what they were doing. They were mostly doing nothing, and you joined them in the joyful task. Today, the election results are everywhere. The results scream out to us from phones and pockets. They are shared among friends as reels and memes. You could either look up the results on Google, or switch on a news channel - depending on your anxiety tolerance levels.

But the day of Election Results is the only day in five years, when the tables turn. It is the only day when politicians are scared stiff. On regular days, politicians lead the best lives in the country. They are the modern kings - they get everything for free. They are showered with respect, and need not stand in lines for anything. They get to speak at events, inaugurate buildings and businesses.

People are bending over backwards to peck at their posteriors. They live life with impunity. But come election results, and they are brought down to the level of a citizen. They spend the whole day praying and feverishly checking the results. They flip through channels, and try to find out the sentiments of the people. Their futures are as bleak as regular citizens. Their hopes and aspirations are finally left in the hands of the people. This is the fifth general election I’m following, and instead of rooting for anybody, I am watching like Bheeshma Pitamaha from my bed of cigarettes. I am watching people pray and hope, and am smiling at the beauty of democratic politics.

(The writer’s views are personal)

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