The Honeymoon is Over

For a newly married couple, nothing can be sweeter than the honeymoon. For love marriages wherein the couples get married after being madly in love with one another, the honeymoon is even more precious and sweeter. During the honeymoon period, some couples go out of station and spend time holidaying all by themselves. The couples try their best to be nice and sensitive to one another as they start their new life together. They do not mind spending money by going to new beautiful places, buying new things for themselves, doing new things and meeting new people as they feel that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity which should be relished to the utmost. In this way, couples try to make their honeymoon memorable and unforgettable.  

But honeymoon does not last long. It is very momentary. And it is after the honeymoon that the couple comes to face the real world outside. They might have been blind to the outside world during the honeymoon period as they felt that they are the centre of the universe and everything revolves around them. But it is after the honeymoon that they slowly realize that life is not a bed of roses after all. Some of the issues which a new couple slowly but surely encounters after honeymoon are management of money and resources, accommodation issues, adjustment with in-laws, clash of time and egos and many other adjustment issues related to living under the same roof. So unless one had been preparing oneself mentally and emotionally for all these, a marriage has no guarantee of success even if the couple had enjoyed a lavish and splendid honeymoon. Some say that marriages are made in heaven but marriages are certainly lived here on earth only and there is no ‘happily ever after’ here on earth. Rather it would be one obstacle after another once the honeymoon ends.  

Assembly elections come after every five years. And these elections have become in a way like a honeymoon for the candidates and the voters. Both try to be as good and nice to one another as if they are bosom brothers who cannot do without one another. The candidate shares everything he has (his house, his cars, his money etc) with the voters and he speaks and behaves as if he is a king about to enter a magnificent palace and rule a bountiful kingdom. The voters on their part spend days and nights at their candidate’s dwelling eating, drinking, camping, partying, shouting slogans and singing praises to their boss. They would speak and behave as if they are prepared to even lay down their lives for the candidate. Yes, the biggest festival for most Nagas is neither the one we celebrate in the first week of December nor the birthday which we celebrate every year on 25th December. Rather it is the honeymoon which comes every five years in the form of elections. In this honeymoon, everything i.e. food, accommodation, conveyance, money etc is plentiful and up for grasps. If you do not have food to eat at home, there is lavish meal waiting for you at the candidate’s house, if you do not have a place to sleep, the door of the candidate’s house is open, if you have conveyance problem you can get rides for free, if you have money issues there are enough people around who are ready to make your hands warm and full with brand new currencies.  

We say that we want solution and not election. We say that election should be clean and that the principle of ‘one man one vote’ should be upheld. We say that election is a dirty game. We say that ‘proxy voting’ should not be practiced. But the truth is that these utterances have become just slogans and rhetoric sans sincerity. Because the truth is that many Nagas want election to take place because election time is like a honeymoon for them where everybody is in a celebratory mood and where free food, free drinks and free money are everywhere to be found.  

We profess to be against the use of money in elections, we profess against proxy voting, we profess against muscle power and election related violence. But the truth is that these are the very elements which make elections thrilling and exciting for many. If there is to be no free food, no free drinks, no free money, no camping, no night party, no shouting and singing, no proxy voting etc, then elections would become boring for many. Many Nagas especially the youngsters want to be adventurous and rowdy and want to roam from place to place like cowboys eating, drinking and partying. For such youngsters there can be no other better avenue than election time.  

But like I said above honeymoon does not last long. And it is after the end of the honeymoon season that we have to pick up the broken pieces and start afresh all over again. Those who slept together in the same bed during the honeymoon may even refuse to recognize one another after the honeymoon is over. The candidate who came to your house calling your name and your children’s names is now nowhere to be found. The door that was wide open for you during the honeymoon is now closed and guarded by armed warriors with their guns pointed at you. When you went to the candidate’s house during the honeymoon period, you were greeted with smiling faces and warm handshakes but now as you go there you feel like a stranger visiting a haunted place where nobody recognizes you. When you went there during the honeymoon period they asked how you had been doing in life lately, they enquired about your wife’s health and about your children’s education but now they may not even respond to your greetings because the honeymoon is over.  

All the tall promises and commitments that the candidates announced during the honeymoon are gone with the wind. Now that they have won, their first agenda is to recover the expenditures incurred during the honeymoon. Another top agenda is to lobby and bargain for the top offices in the offing and to devise ways and means to remain comfortably seated in the set-up that is about to be installed. So the construction/ maintenance of roads, judicious use of govt. funds, improvement of the education system, providing employment to the youths, better medical facilities etc which they promised during the honeymoon can wait for sometime. And there is nothing new about this betrayal because it happens every time as humans are, by nature, selfish and self-centered and we always put ourselves first before others.  

As for the unfortunate voters, it is back to square one. The delicious meal which they relished at the candidate’s place is long digested inside their stomachs. The warm hospitality which greeted them during the honeymoon has now turned sour and frosty. And the money which they got also disappears from underneath their pockets.  

When you visited the candidate’s house during the honeymoon, he welcomed you with smiling face and open arms, he sat down with you and enquired about the wellbeing of your wife and children. But now that the honeymoon is over, the situation has turned completely upside down. If he has won the election, he now has no more time to waste with an ordinary man like you since he feels that he has become a big man who is popular, famous and powerful all over Nagaland. So now, exchanging even mere pleasantries with some ordinary person like you would be a waste of time as he now has other important things to do. And if he has lost the election also, the situation does not change much for you. Now he would be in a depressed and foul mood and cursing his fate for spending so much of his resources on scoundrels like you. He might be holding you responsible for the whole debacle. He would not like to see your face as he feels that he got nothing in return from you. He will be blaming and cursing you for not doing enough to ensure a victory for him. So in both the situations the voters are left alone to bite the dust.  

So now, as the honeymoon ends, it will be interesting again to see whether we would still remain blind to the gravity of the stupidity we commit by selling away five precious years of our lives in exchange for a few days of honeymoon. Yes, it is actually a vicious circle putting a very big question mark over our democratic system itself. As for the so-called elected ones who are about to run the government, it would be interesting to note whether they realize the gravity of the responsibility and liability they now shoulder. To be given the task of running the affairs of one’s people for five full years is not a joke. Rather it is the entrustment of the people’s lives itself upon you. So the elected ones should pull up their socks once again and make sure they do not let the people down this time like they have done time and again in the past. So as the honeymoon ends and the real works start, we can now expect to see some bitter moons also ahead .…………see you after five years…..