Anatomically, the human hand is such an interesting blessing, a thumb and 4 fingers. Some childhood granny's tale has it that the thumb is Lord Shiva, the index belongs to Lord Yama, the middle finger is Lord Varuna, the ring finger is Lord Vishnu and the little finger is Lord Brahma. When taking or giving bibhuti/sindoor or any form of tikka, I was advised to use the thumb and the ring finger to collect and the ring finger to smear and apply. Pointing at someone with the index finger more than being impolite, it is also inauspicious.
Often, during childhood I used to wonder why that huge statue of Indira Gandhi almost like a Trojan horse in the State Library showed her hand as if stopping the onslaught of humanity. Turns out, it is symbolic of Congress (I). Yes, when I studied polity in high school and forms of government in college, I learned another, more original meaning of Congress. The dictionary,too.
Anyway, Hindi cinema encashed on the hand a lot. In the 80s, spines shivered when Gabbar menacingly demands, "yeh haath mujhe de de Thakur!" and all the other hand stories. Emotions went rife when someone was shown the hand precisely for whatever reason. The last that I remember is Dil Chahta Hai, when Aamir in the end shows his palm/hand (burning with rage) to Ayub Khan, Preity's childhood betrothed. You must have got the message, back off and don't mess with me!
Come to the fingers and the thumb. Kids love to hold someone's else'shand, index finger and the blah. They also love sucking the thumb. What pleasure, whew! Let's not get Freudian. A thumb-up (yes, I refuse to say thumbs-up) means so many things. A thumb-down means :'( . If the thumb with a closed fist motions outward (ok, I am patchy here) means asking for a lift, hitchhiker style.
Showing just the index finger means one, the counting style. The same goes for all, similarly. But, caution. If one were going to flash just the middle finger in whatever state of mind, yes. That's trouble. It is outrageous and at the same time has a huge fan following. Whatever it means, I know many friends who got caned in school for flashing it and also, for not knowing what it meant.One should not finger around so much, the puritans say.
Showing the little finger means one needs a pee-break. Just an excuse.
Anyway, elections are on, results are due. Yes, yes, my vote,your vote and every vote counts. I could not vote because my name was missing in the rolls but I have a voter's card. Sad. Digressing again, come back. Alright, all the fuss here is -- the Bachchans also went to vote like any Indian. Don't know why our leading dailies take great pride indulging in yellow journalism. At least 2 leading dailies featured the Big B parivaar in pristine white doing their bit for India. All is ok, except showing the inked middle finger -- Big B, small yo B and Bahu B, Jaya B just grinned ear to ear for her happy family. One could have flashed a V-sign, the middle finger would not have been so apparent. Sigh!
Check today's TOI, page 7 -- an imbecile Karunanidhi in his trademark gogs (sorry GTM, I know you won a 1st prize for fancy-dressing up like him on Halloween's two years ago) exercising his adult franchise so immaturely in full public view (I thought it was supposed to be secret ballot) using his index finger, the camera angle is interesting.