(Almost) Midsummer Ramblings
midsummer(noun) : a) the middle of summer. b) the summer solstice, around 21 June, in the Northern Hemisphere.
In less than twenty-four hours, the results of the world’s largest democratic exercise (missing names in voters’ lists across the country notwithstanding) will be announced. Depending on one’s political beliefs, pre-election assumptions, chest (or was it belly?) size, among other factors, several possibilities arise:
- One man is going to bring about a wholesale change to the way things are run in the country, if he wins.
- Status quo will be maintained vis-à-vis scams, alleged ‘industrial’ influence on the government, etc., because one other guy was not elected.
- None of the above.
Following the election travails of parties and candidates has been, in no particular order, an eye opener, an eye sore, and a lot of entertainment. Social media has been littered with posts and comments praising and dissing politicians and parties across the spectrum. Vitriolic discussions were the norm; there was no room for any disagreement in a room full of strong opinions. This election has made a lot of otherwise (seemingly) normal acquaintances and friends take sides and passionately argue why they were right and everyone on the other side was not. Stand up comics in the country had a field day, parodying everything about the elections. Check this link for a compilation. While the spoofs did raise a few chuckles, the one thing I found disturbing was the casting of children in some of these videos, and worse, people actually appreciating it. This Hindustan Times cartoon, aptly titled Game of Throne, sums up the election tamasha.
However, all good things must come to an end. For a political neutral (and cynic) like me, withdrawal symptoms are starting to rear their ugly head. This situation is not very different from the time when Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement. But he did it three times, over a period of ten months, which at least softened the impact, and, not to mention, provided that many more opportunities to bait his fans. On second thoughts, judging by how passionately people have appropriated their favorite neta, I’d probably be better off not baiting them.
Closer home (College Park), it was easily the snowiest winter in the last three years. Which meant we got more than our fair share of holidays declared due to the snow, or the possibility of snow. The long breaks due to the snow also saw all of us at home start to play Counter-Strike to rid ourselves of boredom. We even paid a few dollars to play the latest version of the game online. This has now grown to become a more or less regular event for a couple of hours every week.
During spring break, a group of us went white water rafting at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, a two-hour drive from College Park. The water was still for most part, which made the operation uneventful, and rather boring. We had planned on hiking the next morning, and set out to find a place to stay for the night. What we didn’t account for was the fact that most of (non-urban) America shuts shop pretty early into the evening. We found a motel to take us in after driving for almost three hours, and being turned away from several other hotels and motels since the front desk was not serviced at night. Rain and snow the next morning, however, put paid to our hiking plans, forcing us to beat a hasty retreat to College Park.
As spring begins to set in, the Tidal Basin in DC is bathed in pink due to the blooming of the Cherry Blossom trees. DC is usually an extremely pleasant place to walk around, but a parade that is hosted as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival was scheduled for that morning. The parade itself was hardly impressive, but it seemed to draw large crowds, so much that we had to jostle for space while walking on the street for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, the couch is back in business now that the IPL has started. Over the last month, I’ve also managed to catch a few good movies. There were three that particularly stood out. The first was Dallas Buyers Club, which is about a patient diagnosed with AIDS, who realizes that a drug which helps improve his condition is actually not approved in the US. He goes on to smuggle them into the country and distribute them among other affected patients, which leads to a run in with the authorities. Then, there was Queen, in which the leading lady decides to go alone on her honeymoon, after her fiancé dumps her minutes before their wedding. The last one was a Kannada movie, Lucia. This movie was almost Nolanesque in the way it was made, and I think I have to watch it once more to fully understand it (because the wikipedia page does not have a detailed write up of the plot). The fact that it was different from the drivel usually shown on KSRTC buses alone makes it a one-time watch!
From the time I was in high school till today, introductory and concluding paragraphs of an essay/ report have been the most difficult parts to write. On this post, I think I have managed the first pretty well. I’m giving up on the second, for now.