‘Tis election time and anything is campaign material for the political parties concerned. The Man from Madras Musings is even now observing from his eyrie the preparations for something as innocuous as the first birthday of a child. The proud father is a party hopeful and is ensuring that the great leader of his party notices his efforts and awards him with a ticket.

This man is from what is known as a humble origin. But ever since he hitched his wagon on to a political outfit (and not a major one at that), his status has changed, all glory be to the great leader. His marriage, if you were to believe the posters put up then, was thanks to the great leader. The visuals had the couple posing with an image of the great leader above them with hands raised in blessing. From the hands of the great leader (glory unto the person, in case MMM did not mention it before) emerged a shower of flowers in benediction.

Anyway, the union was blessed, thanks wholly, if the posters put up then were to be believed, to the great leader. The bouncing baby is now one, thanks to glorious leader and celebrations are underway, by grace of glorious leader. It is a girl child; so the father is not entirely happy, but then he must not forget that when she comes of age (once again because of the great leader), there will be a public celebration, also known as grand ­turmeric bath in local parlance. One more opportunity to show ­fealty to the great leader.

The current celebrations began, MMM noticed, with a ceremonial digging of the ­footpaths all along the way. Flags, cut-outs and buntings have been put up, all of the glorious leader, on poles planted in the holes dug up. When MMM ­objected, he has been assured that the stones will be ­replaced, great leader willing, in due course of time. Tube lights, with electricity provided gratis, no doubt from the supply to chez MMM and others in the neighbourhood, have lit up the roads like the way no street light has ever done. It would be a pleasure to drive along with such illumination, but, alas, none in the neigh­bour­hood can pull out any ­vehicle. The leader’s faithful have blocked all entries and exits. Banana stalks in their hundreds have been slaughtered and put up along the way, no doubt an indication of the state of the republic.

Songs praising the great leader are blaring, enough to make the one-year old deaf. But it may be better off that way, for the songs are attacking those opposed to the glorious leader in such cheap terms that the child, if able to hear and absorb, may be corrupted forever, like its father. Talking about father, posters and banners of himself put up all along the route, though of a size smaller than those of the great leader, have been scaring some of the small children who have turned up hoping for cake. The elders appear to have come for other refreshments, for MMM can see several swaying as they leave, some singing hymns in praish (hic) of the leader.

With so much of adoring of the great one, MMM hopes that the celebrant gets a ticket and is successful. For only then can MMM hope for the footpath to be restored to its former state of glory, such as it was, like the great leader.