Today’s paper carries stacks of photos of individuals sticking up their middle finger at the world. As all of us in Mumbai (or rather India) know, this is not to be construed as an obscene gesture, it is just that people are displaying proof of their being responsible citizens and having voted in the general elections. Unlike in previous elections when the forefinger was marked, this time for some mysterious reason the middle finger has been favoured.
I too have a long dark stripe running down my middle finger which startles me every now and then when I notice it, making me think for a second that my finger has turned into a hairy spider. Mum, Dad and I went off early yesterday morning to do our duty, before the queues began to get long and unmanageable. Mother as usual had to spend the first five minutes explaining to the polling officer that she was who she was because the election ID card has transformed her from Ahalya into Alilaya. Attempts to get the name corrected have led to a lot of standing around in queues and frantic endeavours to persuade the authorities concerned that it’s all a mistake but Alilaya it remains on the card and it looks like Mum better get used to her new name.
We got our fingers inked a little before . Much to my own distress I ended up voting for a party I disliked, only to help keep out a party I hated. I guess we would have actually wanted very much to vote for the independent candidate from our constituency who was the only one who sent out any kind of leaflet containing her views on change and her agenda. None of the others bothered. Unfortunately our main agenda was to keep the faschists at bay – to do which we had to avoid splitting up the vote of the party opposing them.
As Cho Ramaswamy apparently once said, if you have to choose between voting for a murderer, a rapist and a pickpocket, well you want to vote for the pickpocket. Guess that’s what we ultimately ended up doing.
Further proof of good citizenship: