Friday, May 2, 2014

The one where I vote

I have closely followed politics since 2004 General Elections.  I did not have much of an opinion back then, except that Sonia Gandhi has an antaratma ki awaaz, which stopped her from becoming a Prime Minister back then.  Oh, and the India Shining campaign.  And the Congress Ka Haath, Aam Aadmi Ke Saath.  Of course, now Aam Aadmi has a totally different meaning.  In fact, thanks to AAP, the word aam aadmi is often used to make fun of gullible and delusional people.  At least I do.  You're such an aam aadmi is my favourite retort when I couldn't come up with anything better. I know I am lame.

Anyway, as usual, I digress (as I will on many more occasions in this blog post).

The first time I was eligible to vote was in 2007 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections.  I was the first time voter.  I was excited.  It was not as dramatic as I had hoped it would be.  I was disappointed.  Despite five years of 2002 riots, I still hadn't formed an opinion on Modi.

It was not until 2009 General Elections that I read up on riots (thank you, unlimited broadband internet, I shall always be grateful to you).  I realised I belong to the constituency which is represented by Lal Krishna Advani in the Parliament. Oh, I had never seen him around.  Oh, in Gujarat, the only person we know of is Narendra Modi. Oh. Oh, and Mallika Sarabhai wants to contest against Advani as an independent candidate? Oh, and that Roadies fellow is supporting her? What?

Around then I started forming an opinion on Advani.  Oh, 2002 riots. Oh, those were the karsevaks returning from Ayodhya who were burned down in the train. Oh, Ayodhya, where in 1992 a mob had brought down the Babri Masjid. Because of course, Lord Ram was born there. Of course. And that was followed by riots followed by blasts.

Apparently, polarisation of Indians on the faith they followed is not new.  It has been since time immemorial. But I do sincerely hope it does not last forever. There is too much hatred around already.  I digress again.

Coming back. In 2009 elections, Advani was the Prime Ministerial hopeful.  Because why not? (OMGFacts: When he took out his first Rath Yatra, the Rath was called Noah's Ark.) Anyway, I had formed an opinion of him, and that was not good. And my good opinion once lost is lost forever. (Yes, I love Pride and Prejudice and I love Mr. Darcy, and I hope you got the reference otherwise we could not be friends. Or we could, because I don't have much friends anyway, Hi, mujhse dosti karoge? omg, let me not digress, ok?)

Of course, in 2009, BJP/NDA lost again, and we had 5 more years of UPA.  I was glad at least we will have a bunch of extremely smart people to run the country.  Well, they *are* smart.  Look at the number of scams that emerged in last five/ten years. OMG. The money involved in scams is so high that I could make daily trips to Mars and back and I will still have a couple of zillion crores in the bank when I die)

Last year, when I quit Chartered Accountancy (like, the course literally ruined my jawani) and became a journalist (yea, yea, I belong to the category which I call "underpaid media") I had stronger opinions. Of course, the good opinion lost never returned, but I formed opinions on other leaders.  The one who is pegged to become the next Prime Minister.

The day I went to vote, I was still confused who I should vote for.  Should I make use of NOTA? Is it any good? The one who has highest votes will win anyway.  Should I vote for the random independent candidate and help him get his deposit back? Should I vote for the country over constituency? But then, my vote for the country - will it do any good or any more harm? Does my vote really matter when over 800 million people are eligible to vote? I am 1/800 millionth of the population.

In a hypothetical scenario where my vote is the decisive vote, my one vote will change the course of the country. 

I felt so powerful.  As an individual and collectively as citizens.

I woke up at 6 am (I am a morning person, but I like my sleep too, and these days, reading Game of Thrones (yes, I am late to the party, no I have not seen the series, no, do not even dare to tell me the spoilers - I belong to the land of Gandhi (Mahatma) and Modi (Narendra) - I have ways to deal with people who vex me) keeps me awake till late night, and omg, I love Jon Snow and OMG I LOVE ARYA! AND OMG THE STARKS ARE LOVELY PEOPLE) and at 7:00 am I walked over to the polling booth.  After dodging stray dogs, I reached the booth at 7:10/7:15 and to my surprise, I was the 26th to vote in my booth.  Most others, like me, were morning walkers who decided to cast vote before it gets too hot.

It made me immensely happy.

Few days before, I read that after the Supreme Court recognised the third gender, one Sonam, a transgender, had decided to contest from Amethi.  Against Rahul Gandhi.

It made me immensely happy.

Every one of us has the right to form the government.

Every one of us has the right to be the government.

When I pressed the blue button that day, I felt so empowered. (I know, Rahul Gandhi would be so proud of me)

I know, the country has its flaws.  I know even though we dream of a fair election, it is far from fair.  They don't call politics a dirty game for no reason.

But, there is still hope.

All is not lost.

May be not now.  May be now is not the best time to expect the most satisfying government.

But may be in future.

May be when this current generation of politicians are no longer there, and a newer generation of dynasty-less politicians, and voters, who are aware of what they need, and what is good for the nation as a whole, comes up.

May be a time will come when we will not need to urge people to go out and vote.

May be a time will come when we will not need to tell people that their vote matters.  Because they would know it does. 

That their one finger is so powerful, that it can make or break the government.

That the government will be more responsible towards their citizens, and respect the fact that *they* chose them.

I am hopeful.  I want to be hopeful. 

That better days are going to come.

And without any political affiliations, I want to say, अच्छे दिन आने वाले हैं.


PS: No, really, do not give out AGOT spoilers.


sneh chandel said...

satish said...

Well said Nirwa Mehta. Not sure if you have already watched V for Vendetta but if you haven't then you should.

"Neither of us perform to strangers." Sorry for the randomness. Somehow I seem to recall only this from pride and prejudice. BTW there is a series called Lizzie Bennett diaries on you tube. You will enjoy it.