There’s a belief I have held about newspapers over the years. Reading one is like plunging into a book somewhere in the middle. The stories about the exploits and adventures of our ministers would have started somewhere long long ago, but the newspaper I pick up today would be talking about what’s new in the same story. As a result, I wouldn’t be able to make out who the characters are, what the plot twist is or who are the suspects. And so it continued.
Until recently, I wasn’t bothered by utter ignorance of the Indian political scene (oh, I forgot to mention – to me, newspapers = politics). But a few days back, I went to the office cafeteria, where a bunch of guys were having a heated discussion
for over lunch. It went something like, “Random-words-Congress-some-other-words-that-I-did-not-understand-blah-blah-blah” I looked at my friend and commented, “Why would anyone wanna discuss politics over lunch?” She agreed. Later, I heard a similar politically seasoned and spiced conversation in the elevator. And suddenly, all around me, people were just discussing politics. Even my friends on Facebook and Twitter put up angry status lines in Greek. Or Latin. Or random political rants, I don’t know!
There was something about my ignorance that had begun to bother me. There are some things that we are often (and for our own good, must remain) blissfully unaware of (for example, in the cafeteria if I had overheard something like, “Dabangg is such a great movie yaa.” I would’ve probably gagged on my lunch) But politics, however dirty it might be, was intriguing. And it annoyed me that if I were asked to vote, I have no clue whom to vote for. Do I have the right to choose no one at all? What if I have no faith in the candidates? And the worst of all – I was clueless about even the most basic things like “what type of elections are there?” I don’t even know how the ministers function, or how they are selected or what party they belong to. Do all of them belong to the same party?! Or is it (forgive me!) like how we have houses in school?
Newspapers still give me the feeling of plunging into the middle of a book. I get news tidbits (hell! this is embarrassing) from Twitter feed. But really, I need to learn some stuff, otherwise if I hear someone say “XYZ party must win!” and the only response I can think of will be “The finger foods must be good, in that case.”