Yes We Con
THE handsome, charismatic and successful young men join hands and smile for the perfect photo. For the last few weeks they have been adorable in doing such adorable things as sweeping the streets. Makes me want to vote for all of them. I secretly hope that like the SSC exams, the election date is rescheduled several times, so as to prolong the pleasure.
Election day. The alarm on the table clock goes off. I hop onto my bicycle, not to show support for the bicycle, but to ride through the middle of the road otherwise reserved for the bus. I ride to the polling station, where my identity is scrutinized with eagle eyes. I gaze through the telescope in the hope to see a bright future.
And sure enough, Bangladesh joins the ranks of the mighty USA. The latter had it in 1929, the former gets it in 2015. I'm talking about Black Tuesday – officially kicking off The Great Depression.
But for the first several hours of voting it is all euphoria. We are busy uploading photos of our blackened thumbs. Beauticians miss the opportunity for a PR blitz with "You should manicure that nail!" The elite discovers the joy of riding this strange contraption called the rickshaw, abhorred otherwise for being a nuisance but adored today for being a transportation lifeline. The breezy ride spices up the marriage of many a numerous middle aged couples.
The election is 'free and fair' with 'free and no fare' rickshaw rides to polling stations, earning brownie points for some candidates. Then there is the anonymous, benevolent person who spares you the hassle of voting altogether. The voter can now expect to go to the DESCO office and discover that his bills have already been paid or go to the bank and discover that his money has already been drawn.
Several candidates, however, look right through the stratagems of these fringe benefits. With deserted streets, some candidates perhaps (finally) even see and smell the piled trash on the roads, thus realising what entails all in a day's work (if done properly) should one be elected mayor. So, a mass exodus away from the mayoral seat. One candidate even goes further and quits politics altogether, perhaps seeing photos of Ilias Ali.
If a single day can have BOTH an apex AND a nadir, today is that day...
So, the first page of the newspaper on the day after election shows neither the winner smiling, nor the defeated gloomily conceding, but rather, scenes from the Normandy landing.
US Ambassador Bernicat tweets: "Winning at any cost is no victory at all." Exactly. Case in point: Iraq. I'm trying to recall what the Bangladesh Ambassador to the US said after G W Bush's 'win' by way of hanging and dimpled chads in Florida. And the winner did say, "Fool me once, shame on – [awkward pause] – shame on you. Fool me – you can't get fooled again."
But we are mere mortals and therefore CAN get fooled over and over again. We allow ourselves the luxury of a momentary lapse of reason – forgetting that regardless of who is the incumbent and who are the contenders, an election here is merely a survey, at best, with the latter having far less of a margin of error.
First let's look at the photo of the charismatic candidates beaming away while holding hands. Perhaps Photoshop isn't dead. Or, maybe this is our version of The Last Supper (ok, it's a buffet – they are standing) before the election is cruci-'fixed'...
Now let's look at all the photos of blackened thumbs. It somehow makes more sense now that the colour of choice is black. Look deeper – there are fifty shades of black, depending on which perspective one has – it could be a thumbs-up, a thumbs-sideways ('suck your thumb', i.e., you are a sucker), or a plain, thumbs-down. I know it all sounds confusing! Next time, let's make it simple and let's just use the middle finger for the black ink.
So, here's the coroner's report: It is de-mock-crazy with a suck-stress-fool campaign slogan: "Yes we con".
Ok, back to the drawing board. We continue our quest to discover the cure for Electile Dysfunction...
The writer is an engineer & CEO turned comedian (by choice), the host of NTV's The Naveed Mahbub Show and the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club.
E-mail: [email protected]