I love voting in India. I have only voted once before today. That was five years ago in 2004. Elections are a crazy affair here in India. Forget the 2 or 3 parties vying for your votes… here you have almost 20 parties (I am being conservative with the estimate)… each one more ridiculous than the one before. Still, I needed to vote to exercise my right as a citizen of this great country.
So this afternoon, my parents and I walked down to a nearby school where we could cast our ballots. We braved the noon sun to get there and I am glad we waited till noon to go. Most people vote early in the morning here. As we headed to the school we saw makeshift benches set up along the way. You could go there to make sure you were registered to vote. The staff (mostly kids from the high schools) here would give you a coupon with details that the election officials would need. If you did not have your name on this list, you might as well go home. My dad looked and found his name. My mom did too. Unfortunately… John Paul Sundararajan was not there. So, with a raised eyebrow, I scanned a picture book nearby and in spite of the poorly illuminated, badly pixelated screen shots, I found my picture next to “JAN PAUL.” No wonder I was not listed under my real name. Nevertheless, we cleared this confusion, and we continued on our walk.
Upon reaching the school, we were ushered into the hall where we could vote. There were two sets of people. One to check your credentials, and the other to confirm that it was indeed you. I had indelible ink applied to my left forefinger. I then stepped up to vote. Basically, there is a big plastic machine which has many buttons. Each button corresponds to a candidate. You press it… there is a beep for all in the hall to hear and you are done. For all the buildup to it, the pressing of the button to vote was a little anti-climatic. Still… I got to vote and here is my proof!