Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Word of Mouth

Coffee pe Conversation?
When people around the country are excited about Modi Ji's ‘Chai pe charcha’ initiative, we in Gurgaon are thinking about other possibilities. How about Beer per Baat-Cheet, Golgappe per Gup-Shup or Coffee per Conversation?

There is something about food and drinks that connects people instinctively. All those who wish to win the heart of voters  can focus on this profound truth. The way to people’s vote is through the stomach. Sops and freebies don’t work with educated professionals. Communication over food does. Ask Arnab - he enters our living room around dinner time.

So those who wish to win elections can focus on the 'word of mouth'. Unfortunately, tea is not what excites Gurgaon-wallas. How about Beer per Baat-cheet? If there is wisdom in wine, there is freedom in beer. Imagine professionals, video conferencing with their leaders on a big screen installed in breweries across the city. Such sessions will enable people to interact uninhibitedly and ask questions they always wanted to ask. Like why do our roads crumble like cookies after a few months?  Why weren’t the sewer lines laid before the apartments were constructed? Why is garbage dumped along the roads?

But before you get all excited, there are flaws in this initiative. While the voters can drink beer, the representative cannot be seen enjoying any beverage other than tea, lemonade or lassi. Ignore the pepper spray incident, after all, there is something called public decorum, moral propriety and political etiquette. 
Moreover, Chai per Charcha and Beer per Kharcha.

Given that more women are registering as voters in Haryana, how about Chaat per Chit-Chat? Apart from being an innovative idea, there are other benefits too. This is where women can tell their representatives that after inflation, security is what bothers them the most. It can be a gainful session where women can say that simply changing the colour of the autos does not make any difference. Gurgaon may be the only city that has experimented with red, white, blue, pink, green and black autos. And yet public transport remains a woman’s worst nightmare. 

Those who are averse to the above ideas can always join in for Coffee per Conversation. Once people begin to flock,
representatives can perhaps throw in some cookies and croissants to discuss traffic management during peak hours. Contemplating a cup of Mocha or Latte, the voters will actively participate in politics. A truly participatory democracy! I tell you, this is the only way to counter the Muffler Man’s Mohalla Sabhas.

As no other city boasts of so many breweries, coffee shops and eateries per square kilometer, food connect is an idea that holds myriad possibilities for Gurgaon. The one thing that makes for good politics much like good food is the honesty with which it is presented. If you are honest about interacting with the electorate, we don’t mind a cuppa cappuccino.

Why this post? Well,we have to think of novel ways to engage with our representatives. The coming few months are the only time when our leaders will lend us an ear. After May, 2014, we will have to zip-up and shut-up.

 This article was originally published in the Times of India, Gurgaon Times dated 18-2-2014.

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30 comments:

  1. I want Sizzler pe charcha ;) possible?

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    1. Sizzler pe charcha can be pretty sizzling, depending on who is contesting.

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  2. WHAT AN IDEA MADAMJEE!!
    Even those who do not vote, have a reason to start voting now!
    and join the CHARCHA!!

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    1. I for one will join any coffee pe conversation.

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  3. Hahaha I love reading you Alka, as always! :)

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  4. I want Beer pe Baat cheet so badly !!!

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    1. But with whom? But as long as they serve beer, we can talk to anyone. Right?

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  5. You have given me so many choices--each tempting!
    My mind goes whrooom !

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    1. Ha ha. I don't mind chocolates pe chit chat.

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  6. Though I refuse to drink anything on the bar table except a glass of nimbu-paani, for such an initiative, I'll take it,'On the Rocks'.
    But, the aftermath might just be a bitter taste of conversation, messed up jargon in my head and a forgotten taste of any beverage that I decide to slurp during that mindless interval.
    But as long as I'm not acting on it, I don't mind.

    Great article!

    Cheers
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Lol. Those could be the side effects of such a conversation.

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  7. Unfortunately, very little moves on ground besides a lot of charcha! A nation where everyone just loves to talk endlessly without translating things into action, Alka:(

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    1. Yeah, that too! This was just a fun take.

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  8. You are absolutely right. Its really interesting to watch 'Arnab' blast on 'daily lime-light politicos' when we continue with our dinner. LOL. Beer per baat cheet..should be an amazing idea to open up. seriously ppl will start conversing without any inhibitions.. And what is color of Autos in Gurgaon ? Jeesuz you people will sure get affected by 'color blindness' :)))

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    1. Sundar, we have experimented with red, blue, pink, white and yellow autos and yet the service is erratic and exorbitant. Most people own two or three cars here so those who do not drive like myself feel lost. There is no decent bus service either.

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  9. I must have been the first one to Rae this on that day.
    Are we ready for Charcha over Charcha ?

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  10. "The coming few months are the only time when our leaders will lend us an ear. After May, 2014, we will have to zip-up and shut-up."

    Well said, Alkaji!

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  11. I like Sizzler pe charcha, as well. Surprisingly I am not getting updates of your posts. I wonder why. Nicely penned, Alka!

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  12. Ever since the bevy of sisters I lived with spoiled me forever with chat, I've been worried about my prospects as a man. I try to play down my urge at the socials and marketplaces. My case does indeed get complicated when you realise I cannot even guzzle beer, thanks to the triglyceride coursing through my veins. So, all I drink is gingered tea, of which, I was saddened to find, no mention above. (Adarak-wali-chai is different from chai-shai). No wonder I am pitching for the erstwhile chaiwallah.

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    1. I am pitching for him too. There is no better option.
      Damn those triglycerides. They take away all the fun of enjoying food.

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