Eavesdropping is a proscribed pleasure. Though I don’t actually stick my ear into keyholes, but occasionally unwillingly or otherwise overhear other people talking. The discussion of the office help, security guards, electricians and their aides are particularly engrossing. Their canvas is wider than that of primetime TV chatterboxes. From the newly appointed secretary to international relations, they have their say in all. Two of the liftmen are self-proclaimed authorities on the Hindu scriptures and they always make it a point to preach the workers following faiths varied from theirs.

Yesterday the hot topic of discussion was the elections in the state of Bihar and the winnability of the different parties. This led to the electrician’s assistant narrating an incident in his village. A relative of his stood for the panchayat (village level) elections and lost by a single vote. Later the distraught candidate discovers that his father didn’t vote. Because his name didn’t figure in the voters list.

This reminds me of my father’s solitary foray into politics. His friends in college proposed his name and also did the necessary canvassing for the college elections. When the results were declared it was a tie and the winner had to be decided by the flip of a coin. And to his relief, he lost.

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