Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Colour Purple - Memoirs of a First Time Voter on a Sunny Thursday

So I voted. For the first time. Yes I know. I am 27 which means I had been eligible to vote for the past nine years but unfortunately that never happened. Well, that is another story and let’s not go there for the time being. Instead, let me just blabber about my excitement as a first time voter and the sheer high that I have been getting admiring the purple stain on my otherwise unpolished unmanicured index finger.
But before I go there, I must applaud the initiative of because of which I am able to do all this blabbering in the first place. Having nothing better to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon I decided to log in and fill in my details on this site.  Voila, two days later a man stands at my doorstep, takes my documents and a funny passport sized photo (I am sure mine isn’t an exception as far as the passport photo is concerned) and in another two days ensures that I have the chance to brandish my newly made election card in front of my family's amused eyes.
The eve of my election day ended in office with a rather entertaining performance by my highly dramatic and talented colleague who derives sheer happiness from mimicking Rekha in ‘Khoon Bhari Maaang’ from time to time.  Election time however made him shift his allegiance to Juhi Chawla and her high voltage performance as a shrewd neta* in the recently released ‘Gulaab Gang’ (“Kiske denge aap vote, jiske haath mein hai remote”. Mast slogan hai re baba!!). I came home and decided to bake a lemon cake in honour of the midweek holiday the next day. Overbaked on the exterior and undercooked on the inside was not much of an honour but nonetheless and watched Sherlock till three in the morning without worrying about the alarm the next morning.

Being the responsible citizen that I am , I woke up the next morning earlier than usual (eleven o’clock instead of the usual twelve o’clock or so on weekends) and did a search on the candidates in my constituency and browsed through the newspaper with Modi staring hard at me from the front page (“Your one vote can make a majority”) and Rahul Baba and a horde of empowered women smiling at me from the last (“Mahilayon ko sammaan, mahilayon ko ek lakh rupye ka aasaan loan”). In between I had Virat Kohli, Gul Panag, bespectacled college-goers and sunglassed homemakers inspiring me to go and vote while I enjoyed my freshly-made parathas with achaar and baby gulaab-jamuns on the side. Satiated with the brunch I dabbed some sunscreen and set off. On the way I once again checked out my funny photo on the election card, laughed to/at myself and the credentials of the netas in my New Delhi constituency.
The atmosphere outside the polling station was sort of happening. Trying-to-look-alert cops, aunties buying veggies after having voted, journalist with cameraman in tow (I adjusted my hair thinking they might want a byte but no such luck :P), above average looking hunks in slept-in bermudas, I-am-Marxist-at-heart Bengali uncles (I stay in C.R. Park, a predominantly Bong neighbourhood in Delhi) unanimously agreeing on the cons of ‘Kamal’, ‘Jhaaru’, ‘Haath’and so on. I entered trying not to look like a first time voter. I was asked to proceed to Polling Station Number 107, the one with no queue, no crowd at all. I was somehow drawn to Polling Station 117 since it had the longest line. Being a first time voter, I wanted to stand in one of those serpentine queues, get all tanned and sweaty, observe the movements and the nuances around as I waited to get my finger stained. But that was not to be. Four people ahead of me- an octogenarian dida, unshaven husband-wife in red pants duo (red pants in a polling booth, my Marxist allegiance re-kindled),a slightly bewildered thin young  girl (a first time voter I guessed going by the amount of time she spent in front of the machine).

The finger–staining moment arrived. Must say I was slightly disappointed since I felt the colour was not quite adequate. I wanted an extra coat and had almost asked for it when I checked myself thinking that it would not quite be the done thing for a first timer. Standing in front of the polling machine, I wanted to take a good look at all those fantastic and never seen on TV/ FB/auto-posterior symbols that dotted the machine sharing space with the stalwarts. My anti-climax moment however seemed to have arrived before even the climax could set in. I quickly pressed the red button beside the symbol I was looking for (as if I had an option), heard the high pitched acknowledgement emanate from the apparatus and proceeded outside. All done in a matter of seconds.  Just like all major twists in life.
The rest of the day comprised oiling my hair, undoing and re-doing my ‘what’s the point it’s always a mess’ wardrobe, arguing with my mother about the speed of the fan and eating watermelons. I spent the evening watching the dancing fountain show in my neighbourhood Kali Mandir. I am going to end my post thus with a picture of a dancing fountain instead of my inked finger. After all, life is definitely more than just the colour purple. What do you say?

P.S. The indelible ink seems not so indelible since it is almost non-existent after my shampooing session. But kya kare, milaawat ka zamaana hai bhai.
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