Friday, November 29, 2013

A little political story

She went to the polling booth in a dilemma. It was the first time that she was voting. She had relinquished her shopping plans to step out and vote. Even though she was eligible to vote for many years now, she had taken the trouble only this time to get her name added to the voters list, and got her voter ID card made. She was in for a pleasant surprise, as getting the voter ID card was much easier than she thought it would be. There was a purpose to why she went through all this anxiety. A new political frenzy had captured her city's imagination like never before. It was a three sided battle, with two large parties on two flanks and a third smaller party on the side that was making an entry into politics with the assurance of cleaner and more effective governance. She knew that all her friends were going to vote for this new party. And why should they not? It was after many years that somebody had really challenged the two big titans in the electorally vibrant city, and made them believe that it is actually a political institution that could really bring about the transformation. She had no doubt that this party could liberate the country from the crutches of corruption. The novel publicity had also helped in tipping the scales in favour of this party. 

As she waited anxiously in the line for her turn, her thoughts went back to the conversation at the breakfast table this morning. Her entire family had made up their mind to vote for the larger opposition party whose national leader had swept the national in fervour like never before. They had bought into his progressive outlook and the developmental agenda. They believed that it was his party which could bring down the inflation, give  them the much needed respite, and pave the way for a brighter future. While they did reflect on the smaller party, it was a cleverer scheme to vote for the same party locally which had the best chance to form the national government. The rhetoric skills of the national leader had been the theme of discussion at the supper table these last few days. Was she being too brash in misapprehending their years' of experience? Or was it just hip to go against your own family in matters concerning national politics?

She entered the booth nervously and was handed over the ballot paper. The ballot paper had all types of symbols. She swift glanced over and was quick to recognise the lotus, the palm and the broom. Before she could reach a verdict, she gathered her thoughts for one final time. The tune rang in her years. She had been hearing it for a month now on radio. There was no doubt it was melodious, even if it was a song made for an election campaign. It was an ode to the development in the city, and the fact that nobody could halt the development. And yes, the city had developed indeed. There were the flyovers, the wide roads and the metro. How could they not give credit to the sweet elderly lady for doing all this? She was doing a fine job in the contemporary political atmosphere. She could not be part of all those scams. Not all politicians are evil. 

The dilemma and turmoil had reached its peak. She scanned the ballot paper for one last time and her hand drifted from one symbol to another. As she was going through the commotion in her head, she finally did something that she always knew deep her in soul. She wondered why she had taken all this time deliberating about the right choice. She even let out a little grin. The symbol in the bottom right corner was the prettiest. She had always admired this dark shade. 

She made a mark on the trendy looking designer purse, put the paper back in the ballot box and walked out with a feeling of content. It was a day well spent. 

Inspired by Manasi Kothari's true story.


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