The Elections That Were


Written on the 30th of April, 2009, after I voted for the first time in the country’s General Elections for the candidate to the Lok Sabha.

Lost my electoral virginity today. Rule says, I HAVE to wait till eighteen for that. I was almost eighteen the last time this great Dance of Democracy took place. So I had to wait till today to get into the fray.

It wasn’t the first time I had been going into a polling booth. Had been there for every election that had happened before this one, with my parents – be it national, state or local. Heck, I even used to get my finger painted with the black dot as a child! And then flaunt it around, like I am doing now!

But this time, I had been to the polling station for not fooling around. So, it definitely felt absolutely different. For one, I clearly understood for the first time why the whole hullabaloo is called the Dance of Democracy. The queues, the volunteers, the voters – both first time, last time, and others – the center itself exuding a sense of importance, of something momentous happening. There are many reasons why people prefer democracies over other types of governments. The election day and the process, I bet my life on it, is definitely one of them. For those who missed the elections, for reasons, moral, practical, emotional and banal, they truly missed feeling a sense of belonging to the whole conglomerations of races, languages, religion and most importantly, people, that is this nation of India.

So there I was, a tingle in the air, goosebumps on my skin, to participate in the biggest event of the country, even bigger than IPL, as the TRPs have now proven. And the whole thing was pretty simple too. Just know in which rooms of the many I was to vote in, go there, stand in a small queue to confirm your registration details, get your finger marked with a long slash of the indelible ink (it was the middle finger this time; guess the election commission wanted to show the politicians a billion of them), go to the EVM and press the button next to the sign sported by the candidate you want to vote for. A loud beep later, you have fulfilled your side of the bargain!

As simple as that! Yet, the total amount of voting in Mumbai was around 40% on average. Dismal. People took the first train/ flight/ bus out of Mumbai when they got to know about the long “weekend” that was coming up. Yes, even those who had shouted slogans, formed human chains and burnt a kajillion candles after 26/11. Others who did stay in the city were too busy with work, break-ups, birthday parties, weddings and phone calls to have bothered to register their names in the voting list. Still others had not followed up with seeing whether their names figured on the voting list or not. Who will do that much jhanjhat? Some had everything in place but out of desperate rebelliosness, stayed out of it. And still others had felt it was too sunny to venture outside. Sigh!

Be as it may. As it turned out after the election, me and my parents had voted different people. While both my parents had voted for a candidate for the constituency, I had voted for a Prime Ministerial candidate. What a difference in the way choices are made! When we finally let the cat out of the bag AFTER voting for our respective candidates, my parents were a teeny weeny bit disappointed that I did not follow in their footsteps, but quite proud that I had made thought-invested decision of my own. I feel bad for those children who did not grow up in a culture of participating in this process of democracy and whose parents instead took the day off as a holiday on which to relax or scoot away somewhere. I think the Ram Sene should attack such families for giving excuses for not participating in the elections.

Anyways, the entire night yesterday I had spent on the internet, trying to know more about the candidates that were contesting and the choices I had. It is a very strange situation that indirect elections like ours, put us into. Direct elections are like the US Presidential elections, where you directly vote for the party/ person who will lead the country. Indirect elections rely on people choosing their local representatives who go on to form the government, like in India. The elections are past us, but I bet not all of us know this even now. And why don’t we know this? Because, in schools, we are simply not taught stuff and its practical relevance. We learn stuff, vomit it on papers and then our minds look like straight out of the washing machine. Then again, in Civics in school, we learnt about who is eligible to stand for elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the state legislatures too. But did one chapter talk about what these people are supposed to do once they are elected? Did the texts talk about what part we are supposed to play in this entire thing?

Going back to the strange situation that our indirect elections put us in, we elect a candidate to represent us in the Lok Sabha. At the same time, we are also supposed to be thinking of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha who would rule the country. The paradox it creates when I want a certain local representative and another ruling party at the center, would flummox even Einstein and his mental buddies. So, at best, my vote is a compromise.

But, I am not thinking of all this as I write this. What we forget when we vote is that, like the reality shows on television, when we talk about the people voting someone in, it may not be your candidate who wins. It is a gamble at the end of the day. But a gamble which is going to decide your life, whether you lose or win. This is what kills a little of the motivation that people have in voting, whether they realise it themselves or not. Only thing is, unlike reality shows, here it is your duty to vote.

And so, having done my duty very dutifully (bad copy!) here I am, flaunting my newly achieved dark mark on which I wouldn’t really apply Fair & Lovely. I was a little tense before I went on to the EVM and made the machine beep with my choice, as if it had had its fill and it burped. Tense because I was afraid I would make the wrong choice. Tense because, young as I am, my age might cloud my vision. I even thought of not voting instead of having made a choice I would later regret. And anyways, a practical mind wouldn’t expect one’s fortunes with infrastructure and policy to change overnight just because one participated in the process of democracy. Now after having voted finally, I have just one hope though. With the kind of people standing for politics and after having stood, what politics makes out of even ‘good’ people, you shudder at the possibility of you having cast the vote that let the monster lose on the grounds. Hence, my only hope is, I don’t mind my candidate being useless. I just hope that along with that, he turns out to be harmless too.


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Aston Ambani Accident, Sec 377, Spine Of The Congress


Warning: If you feel disturbed after reading this article, that is your responsibility. If you do not like opinions that do not match your own, leave now. If you continue to read, you may not put the blame of being upset on the author having an opinion you don’t like.

Much has been said about the first two incidents and not much about the third. Since much has been said about the first two, I will try to be brief about them, but do not take that as a guarantee.

Aston Ambani Accident:

A few days ago, there was news of a mysterious, yet obviously high profile accident at one of Mumbai’s primest areas, the Peddar Road. An Aston Martin (a British super-luxury car brand, famously used by the James Bond franchise) rammed into an Audi (a German semi-luxury/race brand) and a Hyundai Elantra (a Korean cheap-luxury brand). A superbly mangled Aston Martin had no driver when the accident was spotted. Yet, the next day, one Bansilal Joshi turned himself in, claiming he was afraid of being lynched by a mob hence he ran away when the accident took place. Turns out, there were witnesses who say that it was Akash Ambani, son of India’s biggest business tycoon and owner of Antilla, India’s ugliest residential tower. The car was registered to Reliance corp and Mr.Joshi who turned himself in, is also a Reliance employee. You can read a conjecture story here.

There is outcry over Mukesh Ambani shielding his son from the accident. Most news channels are routinely influenced by the company and by Mukesh Ambani personally. So, this news was also blacked out from the media. Also, Mr.Joshi, allegedly is being made the scape goat to get Akash out of the clutches of the law. Social media is crying itself hoarse about Akash Ambani getting off because he is the son of a wealthy and influential person. Two people were killed in this accident.

My grouse with the social media toting indifferent middle class is this: If your child/relative was involved in an accident, wouldn’t you go to great lengths to minimise the consequences of the accident on your family? Would you not try to bribe the policemen a little, try to see what you can manage in court? Would you not try to manage the people who suffered damage to self and belongings?

The only difference would be how big an accident you will be able to shove under the carpet. Akash and Salman might get away with killing people, you might manage getting away with injured people or maybe damage to public & private property. What irks me about the middle class is they consider their inability to manage the system and lack of influence as moral victories over the richer classes. No, you pathetic dweebs. You are worse than the rich. The rich at least have earned or inherited their resources to shield themselves from the consequences of some of their mistakes. You cry foul because you cannot commit one yourself without getting caught. Your intentions are not nobler. You just don’t have a gate-pass out of hell which you think is unfair.

Does this mean what Mukesh Ambani is doing is right? Not at all! But what would you expect from your father if you knocked down a bicycle wala while driving your vehicle?

My problem is, if a Peddar Road accident could total the car so much, how did James Bond ever manage to go through an entire film with it? A rickshaw could probably do better!

My problem is, if a Peddar Road accident could total the car so much, how did James Bond ever manage to go through an entire film with it? A rickshaw could probably do better!

Sec 377:

Much has been said about the apparent decriminalisation and then the recriminalisation of queer sex in recent days. All of us now know that Sec 377 of the Indian Penal Code (Penal has nothing to do with the penis and everything to do with criminal punishment) prohibits “voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.”

I do not support gay rights. I simply support the right of any person to choose any form of private life that does not harm other individuals or society. Hence, I do not support the international banking industry and Monsanto. Because the actions of each individual involved with them, however seemingly innocuous, are eating away into the social fabric much like Coke erodes teeth enamel, slowly, over a period of time without allowing you to blame any one bottle of coke for it.

But, then, this is the same argument used by the homophobic society against gay sex. They think gay sex is the coke that is eroding the enamel of society, one ass crack at a time.

Wherein my problem starts.

1 – What is with the current crop of Hindu conservatives? They are in essence Victorian Christian conservatives in saffron clothing. HELLO! Stop spouting Testament morals as Hindu morals! Super HELLO! What is wrong with you!??? Not only homophobia, but a lot of supposedly Hindu behaviours and morals are remnants of early influence of Jew, Christian and Muslim morals on the Indian society. Hindu leaders need to know Hinduism and stop confusing conservatism with Hinduism. We have been one of the most liberal societies of the world, because we accepted a lot of things that the then western societies could not. Stop talking of imported morals as your own. You saffron wearing idiots, you have too much western influence.

2 – You protesting liberals. You need to stop aping the west. Seriously. Please look at your own problems in your own ways and find your own solutions for it. I am downright scared each time the urban yuppy crowd picks up an issue and tries to solve it. Because mostly, their “solutions” involve looking up on the internet what white people in predominantly white societies have done. They then label their problems as the same and try to copy paste solutions. Case in point: Slut Walk. To begin with, could we stop calling the LGBT crowd Queer? Could we invent a word of our own? Possibly in a language of our own? Even a cucumber wielding lonely house-wife is queer by most standards.

3 – Let us accept gay sex is unnatural in the form that sex is for reproduction and that gay sex does not lead to offsprings. Let us accept the argument and move on. Arguing against this argument is stupid. Build on this argument rather. If sex is for reproduction, all contraceptives are against this law of nature and should be banned. Let us protest for banning of condoms, copper T and the morning after pills. Like seriously, inserting a metal piece inside the body so that people can have sex for the express purpose of not reproducing is slightly obviously unnatural. Let us protest against the fact that if food is for sustenance, why do we need fine dining places? Nature doesn’t build finedines. We do. As such, they are supremely unnatural. Protest against the pizza and the chicken tikka. And last but not the least, protest against Sachin Tendulkar. You don’t get any more unnatural than that. Sachin! Sachin!

There is nothing wrong in selecting another culture's symbols as your own. But, at least choose something that will be understood by those who you are fighting against! Idiots!

There is nothing wrong in selecting another culture’s symbols as your own. But, at least choose something that will be understood by those who you are fighting against! Idiots!

The Congress just grew a Spine!:

It is rare to see the post Indira Gandhi Congress party stand up to America. From Rajiv Gandhi’s government that buckled to American pressure to criminalise marijuana in 1985 (yes, it is that recent) to allowing Monsanto into the country, the Congress has played a smiling ass wipe on more occasions than one. Till the recent Devyani Khobragade case of diplomatic undiplomacy. Part of the Indian embassy in the US, Devyani was cavity searched (yes, that.) for allegations about underpaying household help. No, you cannot get your boss cavity searched because you think your salary is too low. But, finally, the Congress has shown some spine in standing up to the US and taking away the privileges of their embassy officials because of what they did to one of us. The US is used to excessive privileges from the rest of the world and of playing a bully and hopefully, this episode sets a precedent; because we are not a predominantly Muslim, oil producing country that needs to be ripped apart by installing psuedo-democracy and hence won’t be directly attacked by the US. Of course, they will try strong arming us for other things, but considering the Congress has lower chances of winning the next general elections, the US is likely to take this one quietly.

Go Devyani go!

Disclaimer: If you do not agree with my views on anything, that is not my problem. If you think any point of view apart from your own is wrong, that is not my problem. If you are very disturbed after reading this article, that is not my problem. And don’t you have a real job? Why are you randomly browsing articles anyways? Plus, didn’t you read the warning?

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