’tis the season of giant cut-outs for ’tis the season of various important people in the political firmament celebrating birthdays. And then there are stars releasing troublesome films as well. And all this calls for cut-outs and digital hoardings. The Man from Madras Musings notices that our city is full of nothing else but these.

What with having to navigate and negotiate these, MMM has had ample time to study them. He realises that the fixing of cut-outs, banners and digital hoardings follows a few simple rules. And these are listed below:

Every cut-out remains in the place it was put up till it is removed as and when those who put it up think it necessary.
The direction in which a cut-out is fixed is parallel to the footpath (if it exists), in the direction of the traffic and must block a traffic light or two.
For every political party’s cut-out there is an equal (if possible bigger) one from the opposition.
These may be considered to be the MMMian laws of promotion, directly inspired by the Newtonian Laws of Motion.

As these are strictly against the law and as there is another law that stipulates that if cut-outs are put up, they need to be removed within three days, we must realise that these are after all temporary structures. And so they need to create the maximum impact in the shortest possible time. How can this be done?

Firstly, by ensuring that they are put up at the busiest possible place. The putting up process is a ceremony by itself. The hoarding/banner/cut-out is laid flat on the road, occupying space meant for vehicles. In the meantime, a group of toughs loiters about to ensure that those in charge of the law do not interfere. A gang of workmen then gets busy with crowbars and pick-axes. This is to dig and dislodge pavement stones from the footpath (if it exists) so that casuarina poles can be firmly fixed. The removed stones are not thrown away for they come into use for steadying the poles that cannot be fixed on the sidewalk (if it…) but on the road which unfortunately cannot be dug. Then comes the task of nailing the hoarding/banner/cut-out in place. When this is done, the toughs and the workmen depart, leaving the debris behind – loose paving, nails and yards of rope. These are their gifts for the meek who, having inherited the earth, have to walk about on it, tripping over the loose stones, getting pricked by the nails and being entangled in the rope.

Second, there is the shape of the cut-out. The spherical one is the most preferred for it occupies the maximum surface area and so cuts off visibility in all four directions. You cannot bend low and walk under it either. The rectangular ones are better for they permit walking underneath rather like the Colossus of Rhodes allowed ships to pass below. But these suffer from a major weakness in the eyes of physics. Their height being far greater than their width, they have a very high centre of gravity. This causes the Olympian leaders to gradually bend down and try and mingle with the common folk on the road. They also sway to the breeze. All this stooping to conquer gives motorists the jitters for you never know on whom the grace of the leader will fall. All in all, these are adventurous times for those on the roads.

The Man from Madras Musings notes that the children are celebrating birthdays too, though the mater familias has expressed disapproval of events of this kind. It is only that the attempts at using Queen’s English to sing of someone, whose vocabulary is said to be of the best, is rather amusing. And so, what do you mean by referring to someone as ‘Patritian’?

Lincoln is the spirit of the times we all know. And so some have also referred to Imperatrix as the second Lincoln. The largest of the hoardings have been put up on a route that the erstwhile pater familias of the State shuttles on. This is presumably to ensure that he gnashes his teeth (if any).