My dad woke me up at 6:30am. I don’t even wake at my in-laws’ house at this hour. But today is different. I get up quick, get ready real quick.
Today, for the first time in history, I shall vote. Quite an event, I say. I remember last time and the times before that, my name never made it to the electoral roll. This time, with all the lords’ and their wives’ blessings, I have my name on the roll.
My ward is a really tiny place called Dakhingaon. Two years ago, Google didn’t even know where that is. It’s 41 degrees today. My parents “strategically” decide to go early; the decision being solely based on the position of the sun in the sky at 7AM compared to the burning monster it becomes at 10AM.
When we reached our ward, we realized we ain’t the only smart people on the planet. The voting venue was a small school and people were already queuing up.
The atmosphere was more like a local fair. A meeting ground for neighbours who don’t have time to visit each other’s houses otherwise. A live, throbbing, thriving gossip ground. Oooh, field day for the ladies! People greeted, hugged, talked, exchanged pieces of voting trivia and anything they saw on TV the night before. I won’t spare my mother here. She was right in the middle of it all. That’s how people are in this part of the world. Social butterflies, nosey misters. I don’t mind it much; secretly maybe, I like it too… it’s endearing… atleast from a distance ;)
We saw people carrying a white slip that mentioned their electoral roll and we didn’t have it. I know we can vote without that slip but people were all in a frenzy to get that piece of paper, blaming the volunteers for negligence and blaming the government and then, blaming on the sun.
Now, it’s way past 7AM.
7:10AM to be exact.
The queue is getting impatient. The voting was supposed to start at 7AM. They complained loudly; each one mentioned their pending work to the public and how this delay would hamper their entire day. From inside the voting room-cum-classroom (yea, it was a school, remember), someone informed that the polling agents have not arrived yet, hence the delay in the procedure. As soon as it was informed, this news spread like wildfire. (Mouth-to-mouth is the fastest communication! #punintended)
“Polling agent not there”;
“No one in this state is responsible; in my opinion, they should have been at their stations at 5AM”;
“Where is the polling agent? Sleeping? Must have downed a couple of pegs last night. What a waste”…
Frenzy on top of frenzy but soon the polling agent was forgotten and people, after a while, went back to more broad-based topics like sun, water supply (or lack of it) and Bangladeshis.
At 7:20AM, someone gave the hot information that the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) was not working. Frenzy on top of a frenzied frenzy!!!
People went berserk. The complaints got louder. The pending work-list got longer as they told one another what they could have done had they been at home. (I know for sure, I could have slept more)
“EVM not working? We should all go home, come later”
“These agents must have slept through their training; each one must have thought that the other is taking notes. Now they are all but a bunch of idiots!”
“I shall call the news channel. Someone from the news should be here to witness this epic fail”
“Maybe someone tempered with the EVMs. Why couldn’t the polling agents arrive early and check these discrepancies?”
Finally, after a 10-minute confusion, where everyone spoke at the same time and no one did anything much… (not even go home, like they suggested)… the EVMs started working. There were more comments on the polling agents being completely incapable; fools and morons. I, thankfully, didn’t get to hear much. I was quite ahead in my line and I was out of the voting booth by 7:45AM.
I felt weirdly weird-proud. As if, I’m a part of the process. Like, maybe my singular vote would be the deciding vote between the winner and loser. Don’t tell me you don’t imagine that? It’s irrational but it’s a fun thought.
Anyway, voting over; we met our family friends on the school grounds and we were asked to come for tea. And so, after voting and our morning heavy dose of gossip, we went for our morning tea at our neighbour’s place.
We voted, we met people, we participated in the public confusion and confused each other more. I quite liked my first time. I don’t mind voting once in a while.
Maybe we shall have a stupid-ass government and it shall fail and I would require to vote again next year?! Chill… just kidding.