Doraemon, Chotta Bheem, Motu Patlu, all seemed to have breached the Model Code of Conduct or आचार संहिता. Everyone of them publicizing and displaying their strengths in full color. However the election officials seemed to have turned a blind eye rather focusing on puny and tiny shards of papers with some silly party symbols. It seemed that the real contestants in the LS polls are these innocent characters and their paintings on school walls resembling or mimicking our aspiring leaders. Only if these leaders could give back to the public the same faith that these characters instill in the hearts of the young.
The typical school venue of an election poll booth venue, an exemplary reflection of our country’s polling and its politics. The walls off-colour with flakes of colour jumping off. The sweaty corridors of an old school reeking of musty damp walls. The only respite coming from a nice breeze stealing itself from crowded lanes of voters and a few unbalanced ceiling fans which were happy to move on to another event of 5-year term polls. These school’s air dispensers probably have witnessed the terms longer than the people it services.
Coming to people, A typical poll day in a city is harvest day if you like to observe people. Ranging from women walking in wiping sweat with sarees from their temples to the royal ladies for whom the inner sanctum is too bright for the eyes, sporting double sized shades. The poll day for some is just another day or for some its an important social gathering. Early in the morning, I saw a person wearing a tie, this was at 7.30am when joggers and early risers were queuing to cut through typical long delays in the day.
During the day, the ladies had their pageant looks ready. Ofcourse, the harsh sun and the need to stay taller and above the mango-man. Stepping down from JLR Discoveries to the long vehicles. I thought most of the city poll booth centers are well within walking distance of 5 minutes. With their exaggerated accents pointing to the countries of their origin, does a great work for onlookers like me to sly. Dolled up and decked up, discussing the career paths of their Honeys and difficulties of adjusting in the foreign lands.
The corresponding men always seemed to have the cool look, floating around in their loafers and shorts with the uber fit looks (if they managed it with body tight under-armour or equivalent apparel) or else with the floral printed Hawaiian shirts. Speaking with baritone voices on their pains of long flight hours.
The poor officials and the policemen/women, They’ve got to put in an extra effort maintaining the decorum. The badly drained guards even find it difficult to lay a hand on those food packets (served cold), let alone having a feisty meal.
With the summer’s heat almost peaking a month early this time in 2019, each and every person big or small, high or low had to bear the brunt of the heat and the humidity. Its only when being pushed to limit a true character shows. People getting agitated for jumpers in the queues to arguing even with poll officials who were trying maintain some scheduling algorithms of their own to support long queues and appease the ever growing and at times grumpy senior citizen tails snaking around.
This 5-yearly event is also a great co-incidence generator. Meeting a host of old friends, neighbours. The talk is mandated by the stuff he / she does to make a living nowadays, along with such a longtime no-sees. Post the talk its difficult even to meet an eye to avoid ॲार क्या? question that’ll only generate dry answers.
As one enters the classroom where the fate of elections is sealed, the robotic work of verifying the VoterID, shouting the name 10 times, crossing off a multiple set of lists begins. The silver nitrate dye punishes the finger that didn’t even vote or crucify others, Such a disregard for instant karma.
Then the wait, for the guy/girl ahead of the queue to register the vote with a loud vocal beep. The beep’s tone probably has been carefully selected to strike fear in the heart of the voter, one mistake and the country could be doomed. Or atleast its for us commoners. The आम जंता always edgy.
Then its your turn, another loud beep… Thats it! Your’e done for your right / wrong and the endeavor towards your country. With a lighter heart you step out of the booth waving goodbyes to your friends, neighbours still sweating in the poll booths, waiting to carve out a better nation.