This is an excerpt from the diary of Nitin, a 19-year old college student who lives in Bandra, Bombay. It is dated from 24 April, 2014, the day the city went to the polls and might go some way in explaining the city’s abysmal voting percentages.
Ok, the day started off in a fairly confusing manner, a sign of things to come. All the newspapers outside my door carried the exact same picture on the front page: Modi stared out from it, his left hand, for some odd reason, depicting the popular physics mnemonic, Maxwell’s Right Hand Thumb Rule. Another dude was staring at the back of Modi’s head with a look of mild disgust, the sort you get when you see dandruff flaking off someone.
(Dad told me later on that the guy’s name was Uddhav Thackeray, a distant relative, apparently, of English novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray. To fit their current image, they’d dropped their middle name “Makepeace” though.)
Anyway, I extricated our newspaper from the neighbours’ and stepped back inside. Thoughts took shape slowly but surely in my sleepy brain. Ah yes, today was voting day. Of course! A most important day for Indians like me, when we would boldly step out and exercise our democratic franchise so that our proud nation could choose a new President.
Democracy! I don’t know much about it but something about that word just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, you know. Like when a football club which you love more than dear life, situated half way across the world and run by people who don’t even know Bombay exists, defeats another football club. Yeah, like that.
The problem was, dude, I didn’t have a clue who to vote for, you know. I mean I am aware of who Rahul Gandhi, Kerjiwal and Obama are and I know that Manmohan Singh is the Chief Minister but that doesn’t help me choose, now does it?
Apart from me, though, everyone else kinda seemed sorted. I mean just the other day my mother, who’s set on Modi, gave me a huge dressing down over the fact that I’m so laid back.
“This time, young man, you’ve gone too far
Ab ki baar….you must do something about your grades. They’re plummeting.”
Which was correct but right now I had bigger fish to fry.
My dad, on the other hand, is like this MASSIVE Kejriwal supporter, man. He hates corruption, politicians, staying too long in office and, you know, other things that the AAP hates. He’s just totally bonkers for the Aam Admi Party; pushes it every chance he can get. In fact just the other day, he got caught by a paandu for jumping a light. That bugger was asking for 300 bucks to let us go, which is way too high, you know? Dad was like, “are hum to aam aadmi hain, itne paise kahaan se laayenge?”. Turned out the policeman was an AAP fan too. The two spoke for some time about how awesome Kejriwal was and then settled on 150, which was a fair and reasonable amount, I thought.
My best bud, who we all call Pappu, cos, you know, he can’t dance, might seem as clueless as me but surprisingly the bugger had made up his mind too. A couple of days back, while we were talking of how our luck with girls was so rotten—our usual rant—he suddenly piped up and said, “We don’t need girls, maan. Haven’t you seen those ads with that guy? He’s like, ‘har haath shakti, har haath taraqqi’. I say if he can get to 43 and be so open about that sort of thing, what’s stopping us, eh? I mean that’s pretty brave, man. Rahul Gandhi, respec!”
Also, the princi sent us a mail the other day telling us about the elections. I did read it a couple of times but couldn’t understand what this Gujarat model was, that he was going on about. I mean I don’t even know about any models from Gujarat and, I mean, who cares? This is Bombay. I say talk about issues that matter here like setting up a high-security fenced border between Bandra and the rest of the city to keep out the riff raff. The other day I think I saw a person who looked like he was from Ghatkopar wandering around Hill Road. Creepy, I know. But that’s the problem with these political debates: they don’t even get close to the real issues that matter to the voter.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I did reach the polling booth, confused as ever. I had decided I’d wing it once inside. Vote for whoever strikes my fancy at the moment. As it turns out, those guys didn’t let me vote anyway. Said something about my name not being on the electoral rolls. Apparently you had to register yourself beforehand. I mean WTF. Who’s going to go through all that trouble, man?
Of course, this was extremely disappointing: not only had I been denied my fundamental right as a citizen of the world’s largest democracy to choose our country’s next ruler, I had also lost a chance to click a picture of my inked finger and upload it onto Facebook.
I wasn’t to be stumped that easily, though. I got back home and with a little bit of ink from a pen, managed to create a pretty good impression of the voting ink they used. With the appropriate Instagram filter, no one would be able to tell the difference. Uploaded it and BAM! 26 likes and one comment: “Osum! Jai Hind!”
Not a bad day after all.
First published on NewsYaps