Chocolates are bad, fruits are good

vote election 1

I returned home on the 20th of May afternoon, after exercising my right to vote. My left index finger had an indelible ink mark to tell the world I voted. My 4 yr old daughter curiously asked me what it was. Why did you get it? Where did you get it from? And to top it off, she declared even I want it. I explained her, that I voted, she cant vote as she is not 18, when she turns 18 she can vote. Her mom added you need to know what is good and what is bad before you vote. That was it. My daughter announced that she knows “chocolates are bad and fruits are good …so she can vote”.

I spent the whole day,

1.      explaining to her that this knowledge of good and bad is not enough.

2.      thinking is choosing a candidate that simple?

Surprisingly, the answer was yes.

We all know the effects of chocolate and the advantages of a fruit. Chocolates ruin health in the long run, they seem attractive, tempting, tasty, and everyone wants it knowing the long-term effect, but doctors advise us not to indulge. We are bombarded with advertising of chocolates in every nook and corner we go. Open a magazine or a newspaper we see a chocolate photo. In simple terms. We are manipulated by an ecosystem to buy chocolate knowing everything.

Fruits have no such ecosystem to support. They age, and we need efforts to peel, wash, cut etc. Their taste is not as tempting as a bar of chocolate. Doctors advise us when we are in bad health, and to eat regularly. Yet we skip them as much as possible. Access to fruits can be free, it’s a capital-free product. Can be grown in your house or backyard too. In India, fruits are mainly sold on streets, while chocolate is shelved in fancy well-lit malls.

The same is true with political parties. We all know the democratic health of our country. One is bombarding us with advertisements and promotions we can’t escape. We know why the collective consciousness of our nation has been filled with hatred. We know this is an illusionary pleasure and we are paying high price for this. The packing and branding of one party is very attractive.

Social scientists, the doctors of sociology, political science etc, have time and again warned in their best possible way. Written about the perils, spoken over it. Yet voters choose not to follow it and fall in for marketing gimmicks running the economic, social, and cultural health of the nation and also their families. Somewhere inside they know this is not what we want, but the bombardment and temptation is too big to resist. Brands work this way. If a 4 yr old, knows what is good for health, surely an adult is aware of it. They can make a rightful choice in the larger interest.

Add to this, I noticed that surprisingly the voting booth was not welcoming. The voting booth allotted to me is a nearby school, a posh 7-storey building. In the previous elections, the classrooms were converted into booths. The staff and the voter had fresh air, ample sunlight, good ventilation, and access to the washroom and water. This year, they chose the basement. Poorly lit, no ventilation, standing fans not working effectively. No lift for old voters. Add to this the summer heat and Mumbai humidity, a voter nearly fainted in the queue at the booth. His wife had to rush to get water which was not an easy job.

Security checks were in abundance, the mobiles to be deposited, while rural India (especially Uttar Pradesh) had voters boasting of multiple votes casting and also recording it, uploading on social media.  Was this designed so that we don’t go to vote? Did they know that most voters have felt they had enough of chocolate and now decided it’s time for some healthy fruit? Why such a shady arrangement when this budget is never audited?

Factory products are never healthy. Political party when turned into a factory for electing representatives, acquiring competitors’ factory and their workers, and using capital to gain market advantage can never be democratic. Factory products need constant media attention, brand ambassadors, high pitch drama to sell their produce. Natural-grown products find tough to compete in this space. The competition is never and can never be on equal footing. Seems the nation has chosen to go healthy, and its need of time.

One can never predict the move of a factory owner. Their business acumen combined with enormous wealth can change market scenarios. A common citizen will be left with no choice but to go for what is ONLY available, knowing it is unhealthy. They will even brand and include some fruits in their chocolates products, create new identities and flavours to confuse the people. Yet the people know, a chocolate is unhealthy, no matter what the factory produces.

This 4-year-old made it very simple, adults with their massive knowledge of social media universities stand confused. While some wish to switch to healthy products, the ecosystem discourages them. Awaiting the verdict to know what have people chosen.

PS. In the evening, I took her to a friend’s office and used a marker pen to create a mark on her left-hand index finger. She was happy she voted for fruits. She taught me a big lesson.  

Vivek Sakpal is the published of

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