Sensing the lack of excitement in my voice, my mother dubbed me an anti-Northeast Dilliwallah. In a nation hooked to high emotion talent-hunts, showing disinterest in programmes of public popularity brings forth some uncomplimentary comments. Debojit Saha from Silchar, Assam winning the ‘coveted’ Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee TV should have had me partying all night and distributing sweets to my colleagues. The fact that I didn’t even watch the show (which ended in its unearthly climax well past midnight), was unforgivable. I was made to feel as if I had missed an India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup final.
The males in the family were of the opinion that Debojit had bridged the gap of animosity and distrust amongst the different communities of the Northeast, and bound them into one for a cause – to make Debojit win, to let for once the Northeast win against the hegemonistic tendencies of the dominant India. He won, they won. The producers won, the channel won, the mobile service providers won, neighbourhood sweetshop owners won and Shivakashi also won.
The last time when I went vacationing home and stretched my itinerary to Assam’s Barak Valley – the place from where Debojit hails – the initial impression was that there were some elections on. The town walls were pasted with posters demanding SMSes in favour of their local boy. Locality youth clubs ran special ‘awareness’ drives. The place must have erupted with joy and celebration.
But I’m not asking anyone. “Did you vote Debojit?” would be the inevitable question. I wouldn’t like to lie, nor would I like to be branded something more unflattering.