Election frenzy can be injurious to health
This title is not a mandatory health warning.
This is the story of the domestic scene and the drastic behavioural changes in the “LOH” (“Lady of the House” – a caption coined by Col. Proudfoot, a noted humour columnist of yesteryears) in the home of a close relative in the run up to the elections.
This drama would surely have been replicated in many homes across the nation.
Firstly the ambient noise levels in the house registered an alarming increase with the TV blaring the blow by blow account of the campaigning from sunrise till tired eyes finally forced a shutdown of the idiot box.
The volume was kept on high, so that nothing was missed by the LOH even while she was ensuring the milk did not boil over in the kitchen that was well away from the TV room.
Talking of the kitchen – the proprietary domain of the LOH – was an area of the house that witnessed sudden lack of attention. Pots pans and other cooking paraphernalia were in uncharacteristic disarray.
Continuing on the culinary aspects, the menu for the main meals that were usually peppered with several delectable additions to the main courses saw a massive paring down to bare essentials. ‘Dal – rice’ became the staple. ‘Dhai-chaval’ – a combination that required no prep time away from the TV was resorted to at regular occasions in keeping with the need to watch the live rally telecasts of the main electoral contestants. Door-delivery ready to eat fast-foods were now consumed with regularity notwithstanding its health hazards that were otherwise emphasised upon the younger generation.
The other members of the family were given several unsolicited replays of the barbs, quips and quotes of the rally speeches at the dining table.
As the electoral race went into its last lap, and things got more hectic, the need to soak in every shred of information became more pronounced. The menu switched completely to ready-to-eat fast foods. No time could be wasted in the kitchen away from the source of live spicy information.
The bedding shifted to the TV room. An electric kettle was procured to provide convenient and copious cups of tea and coffee. Caffeine overload kept the eyelids open, the heart thumping and the brain numb to the cacophony.
Commercial breaks were loudly cursed.
There were some positives.
The telephone bill dropped significantly. No mid morning long gossip sessions after packing off the man of the house and children to work and school.
Water consumption reduced too. Just a hurried bath – no lingering long hot showers.
The housemaid had a good time too with the LOH having no inclination to nitpick on her sweeping, swabbing and dusting chores even if it was shoddy.
The bread-winner was not harangued to get home early from office and take the LOH on shopping or beauty parlour trips.
The children not completing homework was a minor infringement that merited no great reaction – after all, the nation was in the midst of an electoral contest that was touted to be the mother of all battles.
The frenzy reached its zenith on “Counting Day”. The TV was on from dawn to commence soaking in the analysis and predictions that were already being broadcast.
A call to the local cable operator ensured that there would be no technical break in his service. The computer was switched on and the online news was kept on with volume muted – just a backup to ensure uninterrupted viewing.
Right from the morning, it was ‘Self-Help Day’ for the rest of the family, starting with the hot cuppa.
And so the curtains came down on this blockbuster drama after the final counts came in and the official results were sealed.
The family heaved a sigh of relief that sanity would return to the household.
Alas! They had not reckoned with the addictive power of the information overload. The LOH was now into the next chapter of this drama – the victory celebrations.
The family is fervently hoping the country and the new government will settle down to the boring humdrum of everyday governance and release the LOH from the clutches of the need for a daily dose of excitement and adrenaline rushes.
But just to be on the safe side they have booked a place for the LOH in a de-addiction centre in case she shows severe withdrawal syndrome symptoms and goes cold turkey.