It is election time and I just returned after casting my vote. :) This was the first time I voted and certainly isn't going to be my last. It was an amazing experience though, standing there in the queue and looking at all the faces, young and old...rich and poor. Just there to exercise their franchise... even after knowing that it may or may not make a difference... Yet they were all there.
And I was there too....Grinning away and waiting for my Mom to click, who was too scared to take a pic. She thought it wasn't allowed and kept looking around to see if anyone was watching her. It was a great feeling standing between people of two completely different backgrounds. A housewife was jovially talking to her house-maid, and asking her if she needs water, and if she is casting her vote for the "RIGHT CANDIDATE"...whoever that was.
I stay in a very "posh" colony, with beautiful houses and people with a lot of money. The area around it is completely opposite. It consists of this small belt called THE YAPRAL VILLAGE. That is where most of our household helpers and workers for petty jobs reside. Its like two sides of the same coin. This old man here in the picture below sat with his grandson, after casting his vote. He noticed I was clicking this pic, and he motioned his granchild to look towards the camera and smile. It was one of those overwhelming moments, to see this sight.
This lone policeman was trying his best to maintain order at the polling station. There was an occassional bunch of the so-called educated modern women who kept wanting to cut the line, get in and vote. They seemed to have come direct from the beauty parlour types...all shiny and prim and proper, who were too worried about standing in the sun and getting tanned :P :P ..This man, stood firm and didnt allow anyone except senior citizens and people who were sick. There was a young lady who had just got a C-section done few days ago and couldn't stand in line, she was let through to vote. I felt good about coming in to vote :)
This aunty too had come to vote, her grandchildren drove her right up till the room where she was to vote. At her age, she walked in the scorching mid-day heat and came to vote. So many youngsters, my age and older argued that it is worthless to vote. What does she get after voting?? But she still came. Would you call her a fool to vote?? WOULD YOU DARE??
These young kids were intently watching the proceedings, quitely sitting in one corner and waiting for their parents to cast their votes. The lines for males and females was separate, and no one seemed to grumble about the heat. I saw a lot of smiling faces. Maybe they hope for change and vote with the belief that their votes matter. These were some of the daily wage hourly paid labourers, who left their work for one day and came to stand in the queue and losing a few precious hours of earnings. Yet they came to vote. They looked at strangers and smiled all through...they were more than helpful in informing others about the procedures to vote and the rooms to go to.
This 11 year old was bringing water for her parents when they were standing in line, and also for complete strangers, who requested her. It was lovely to see her obliging and doing her bit in this election. She wasnt eligible to vote....but she played a part.
This is our colony's caretaker, Patel Uncle. Such a wonderful soul. He came to the polling station that was about 4 kms from our colony and ensured that all those who came to vote, from our colony that is, faced no problems at all. Just included his pic coz I felt like putting it here. Jai Shri Krishna Patel Uncle :)
This was the polling station. A Primary school. I wish I could go inside and take more pictures but I was getting a little restless too. I went on an empty stomach and was very very hungry(that is irrelevent now considering there were plenty such other people...I am spoilt :( ). I managed to see a few classrooms and I was pleased that underpriviledged kids do have some decent infrastructure in place. It wasnt as bad a government school building as I had imagined.
All in all, I felt great to have been able to exercise my right to vote. I am happy that I did. After seeing all the people who came to vote, I realised its not about expecting what the GOVERNMENT or the FOOLS WHO GET ELECTED will do for us. It may be flawed, it may be rigged, but it matters to me that I did what I was supposed to do. I stood in line with people of various ages, speaking various languages, having various dreams... doing one single thing. Exercising their right.
Today is the first day of polling in India...so in various other states, where elections are due, I urge everyone to vote. You need to vote....you need to take that time out. You need to make it count. I think I did a good thing. If anyone thinks otherwise, they are free to think so.
I stand my ground and I am proud to have voted.
PS: I like the mark of the indelible ink on my finger. I washed my hands after getting back home and even though I knew it wouldnt wash away soon, I was actually worried that it will go away. I feel good to see it there :P