Arvind Kejriwal graced the city as part of his election itinerary this week. In keeping with the aam aadmi ethos, Kejriwal decided to take a local train from Andheri to Churchgate. While the optics were correct, everyone knows it wasn't an authentic experience. First, no human unwillingly twerked his body against Kejriwal's unmentionables. Second, no sweaty human armpits were wiped off his shirt or head. Finally, no one stole his cellphone from his pocket while his hands were in the air holding onto a handlebar for support. Still, Kejriwal must have felt really bad for chastising Sheila Dixit so much after travelling in a local.
On the other side of the city, a massive crowd of excitable Aam Aadmi Party supporters waited for Kejriwal like enthusiastic Justin Bieber fans. This was in sharp contrast to Rahul Gandhi's trip to Versova where even the volunteers had a 'Boss I was promised chicken biryani and a bottle of alcohol. Where is it and how much longer do I have to be here,' expression. Unfortunately, Churchgate station couldn't handle the rush and some metal detectors were damaged. The good news is those metal detectors were probably non-functional anyway and the railways now has an excuse for buying new ones and starting a fresh scam.
What I find fascinating is the reaction of people on social media and otherwise everytime the city plays host to a political bigwig. The first refrain is how it leads to a gigantic traffic jam and makes the city come to a standstill. The second, in cases like Kejriwal's where he takes public transport how other people who use public transport get inconvenienced. While these concerns are accurate, it's frustrating that the discussion always boils down to how politicians shouldn't do these things instead of talking about the shortcomings of public transport and what can be done to improve it. It's not like Mumbai isn't a gigantic traffic jam to begin with. Every year we see the same cycle of monsoons, festivals, weddings and religious processions that make us spend 1/4th of our year stuck on some road somewhere. It's not like Mumbai locals aren't running way beyond capacity already. It's 2014 and we're celebrating getting our first air-conditioned local like we just colonized Mars. Yet, the politician always bears the brunt for causing the city anguish.
The day this piece goes out, EDM sensation Deadmau5 is supposed to press the play button on his computer and call it a concert in the city. Like with Swedish House Mafia and Armin Van Buuren in the past, there will be a gigantic traffic snarl caused by 13 year olds excited to see a guy with a mouse head on top of his torso. You'll see a lot of tweets saying 'Traffucked' but no one will complain about why he's come down and caused a section of the city to freeze because unlike the politician he's one of 'us'.
Between a mouse with a badly spelled name and politicians who might end up doing something for the city and state, I'll choose the latter without whining. It's the least one can do in election season.