Vote: Cast.

The lines in quotes were the questions I was asked.

“Do you have a voter slip? No? No problem, you can get it from that room.”

The following conversation took place, after which they gave me a small slip containing the part number and serial number. I knew these by heart because well I read through the electoral roll PDF, duh.

“Where are you from?”
Excuse me?
“Where do you live?”
Umm, I live in (I showed them the address on my voter ID) Why do you ask?
“That’s a bit far from here. How did you get this voting center then?”
I have no idea how the allocation happened, can you please check the electoral roll and give me a slip? Thank you.

That was pretty much all the interaction that happened at the polling center. I walked in to the polling booth, got my finger inked, signed a register, cast my vote, and walked out. The whole thing, including the small address talk must have been about three minutes. My flat mate who was kind enough to drive me to a school said he could manage to watch only three or four reels while waiting for me.

Why did my flat mate need to accompany me to the polling station? For a few reasons:

  1. Official (as well as online) guidelines said that mobile phones are not allowed in the polling booth. I did not know (and there was no info anywhere) if there would be a place for keeping mobile phones. Obviously, I would not have trusted a stranger outside the polling booth with my belongings and without my phone I would have a tough time getting back home.
  2. I did not know how long I’d have to wait to cast my vote.
  3. An Uber rental solves this problem. I could have asked the driver to keep my belongings with him and wait for me. However, I had trouble finding an Uber rental that was willing to drive me to the polling station, and back home.
  4. So, plead with flat mate.

I did not think my biggest worry on election day would be where to safely keep my mobile phone. But, it is what it is.

Honestly, I was quite excited about casting my vote. You know how you get jitters before a first date, or before a test that you are underprepared for. I felt that this morning. In the end, the whole process of signing on a register, pressing a button on the EVM, and checking the VVPAT took about 20 seconds or so. It sounds underwhelming when I put it like that.

Nonetheless, I was excited to exercise my democratic right, and continue dreaming about a better India for myself, my children, and their children. Years ago, someone told me that I had a lot to say about a lot of things in the country for someone who has not cast his vote in an election. Today changed that. So, dream continuation is in order, isn’t it?

Casting my vote for my preferred candidate also signifies that beyond being someone’s son, friend, brother, lover, and a whole host of other descriptions, I’m a citizen of this lovely country who has a say in things. That is a powerful thing. If you read my essays and the newsletter, you’d know that love, autonomy, and dignity are the three north stars that I’m aiming for – the process of voting contributes to that.

I would say the voting experience was 10/10. I’ll do it again. I hope you cast your vote this election. If not, there is always the next election. Please exercise your democratic right!

I was so happy!

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