Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Mystic Masseur Redux

All apologies to V.S. Naipaul

The irritating nasal voice, amplified courtesy of the "mic" aka, the loudspeaker system that traversed the back roads and alley ways of the sprawling hamlet of Chowhan in the Republica de Estupido, heralded the latest political salvo from one of the three parties competing for the seat. One night! Three political meetings! Come and hear us! Then degenerating into, "Dan is the man", "the political Goddess" and on and on. All punctuated by the ear splitting, window shaking, boom boom of the larger music trucks playing songs of exhortation while slowly trawling the neighbourhoods, designed of course to ensure that babies and by extension their parents got no respite, the old and infirm begging for deliverance and the rest,  well, either get with the programme or get out of Dodge my friend.

One could be forgiven for thinking it was an election on national scale. And perhaps it will be a harbinger of things to come. But the scale and proportion seemed somewhat distorted as under a full moon, the werewolves, vampires and fey came out in their guise of "normal" people. Actually, that's just the author being fanciful, though perhaps not.  The narrow streets were crowded, folk irritated by their stressful day at work, crawling along streets chock a block with bodies, vehicles and the noise level was that of a Carnival fete. The ancestors shrank back into the shadows and waited for it all to subside.

Loud were the protestations, exhortations and exhalations. Who was bad, who was badder, who was useless and who was dishonest. Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Consider this, party #1 - in existence since independence, party # 2 - a breakaway from the party that defeated party #1 four elections ago, party #3 - a breakaway/rogue (depending on whom you listen to) from party #2.

Mudslinging, finger pointing, accusatory piccong, ah, Naipaul would have had a field day. His novel, The Mystic Masseur, published in 1957, chronicled the exploits and evolution of Ganesh Ramsumair into G. Ramsay Muir. Sadly, it would appear we have learnt little in the fifty-six years since it was published. Trade the American town car for a green Hummer, printed vinyl banners for bills and ad spiffy power point presentations and voila, G. Ramsay Muir lives! In several guises! Take your pick! Vote for me and I'll set you free!

We must like it so eh. And the good folk of Chowhan will in another week decide who their chosen one will be, the rest of the goodly Republic will murmur and talk behind their hands until fete season rolls around again, and we forget the storm in a teacup, business as usual.

1 comment:

Gabriela said...

It seems to me that Rep├║blica de Est├║pido can be found anywhere around the globe.