It’s election season in India and damn, everyone seems excited. My Facebook news feed is chock-full of status updates and photos of ink-stained fingers. And atleast in my case, it’s not the one you put up when you don’t give a fuck. Although, for the record, I did hold out my right middle finger out rather hopefully for inking, but the guy at the booth insisted on staining my left index finger instead. What a shame! It would have been fun to have had a family picture, like that of the Bachchan’s after voting.
Voting was an awfully simple procedure. Armed with our voter ID cards, my parents and I walked the half kilometer or so to the polling booth. In the queue, there was a guy named Varghese two places in front of me and another Varghese two places behind me. Now what are the odds of that happening? After waiting in the queue for ten minutes or so, during which time I also tried to calculate the odds of ending up between two Vargheses, it was my turn to vote. But somehow, the sight of the EVM scared me. At first glance, none of the party symbols were ones I could recognize. Seriously, for heaven’s sake, which sane candidate would opt to use a biohazard symbol? As my eyes darted across the EVM, I saw a symbol that I recognized: the BJP lotus. In the relief of actually seeing a symbol that I recognized, I almost made the mistake of voting for the BJP. To think that I almost played a part in possibly bringing a neo-Nazi to power as India’s Prime Minister!! And for all the Moditards who are thinking of going ballistic in the comments section of this post. Go ahead! I don’t give a rat’s ass for your arguments that Gujarat has advanced under Modi. So did Nazi Germany under Hitler. So go stick that argument up your you-know-whats.
Taking a deep breath, I finally zeroed in on my choice for Trivandrum MP: Shashi Tharoor. Yes, the Congress candidate. I’d rather be robbed than butchered in a state-sponsored riot. Thank you very much! As I pressed the button, the EVM made a loud beep. It was over. My vote had been registered. I had just played my part in one of the largest democratic exercises in the world. Leaving the booth, I felt strangely powerful and couldn’t but help smiling to myself like an idiot. And I’m not kidding but my left index finger actually felt a little heavier on the walk back home.
I also think it’s ironic that my ink stain ended up looking like a cross. (I’m an atheist.) Maybe this is God’s way of speaking to me. Feeling blessed. Haha!
Once I got back home, I googled indelible ink and did some reading on it. I’ve always found it pretty cool. When I was younger, I used to wonder why ‘inedible’ ink was so important for elections. It was all over the papers. INEDIBLE INK. Maybe it was to discourage people from sucking their fingers. But then again, wasn’t ink supposed to be inedible generally? I kept these thoughts to myself though, consoling myself that the intricacies of democracy were beyond the thinking capacity of a ten year old.