I went all prepared. Ear phones for my phone radio, comfortable clothes and footwear, a light bag, though I did forget the bottle of glucose. No, I didn’t go to an adventure camp. I was getting set to go to the Voter Facilitation Centre.
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As election fever is running at an all-time high in the city, I wasn’t left far behind. The bug caught on to me too. And here I am, joining the bandwagon of those who have been ranting about their journey to get the ‘impossible’ – the Voter ID card.
I am proud to say that I did it! After 2.5 hours of standing in line.(I know better records have been set)
Even as I knew I had a long weekend (thanks to Ugadi), I decided that my Sunday would be spent with my friends at the Cooke Town Voter Facilitation Centre. I had set aside a greater part of this day in their honour.
It was like a Sunday picnic for most present there. Children playing in the mud, families catching up on gossip, boyfriend-girlfriend holding hands, cranky babies, irritated husbands, content-looking wives (I guess because they could skip cooking the extravagant Sunday lunch) and so on. They all looked like they were well-prepared. Bottles of mango juice, milk for the babies, khara mixture, a Jeffrey Archer novel, a copy of The Times of India, it was all there.
I for one decided to make the most of the time, instead of complaining about standing for hours in the sun. I made some long-pending phone calls to friends in Mumbai.
In J-school, one of the things you are taught is to keep your eyes and ears open wherever you are. You do that and you get to hear the strangest of conversations between absolute strangers. From the annual sale at Deepam silks to ayurvedic cures for diabetes, from wives yelling out instructions into their mobile phones to sons buying mineral water bottles for their aged parents, from the right kind of manure for your garden to threats of complaining at the State Election Commission office.
And a supposed BBMP official provided some much-needed drama by jumping the line to get his ID card, earning the wrath of those of us who were starved and scorched that Sunday. He was forced to get out of the office before he could pose for the camera. A while later, some more drama, as an election official came in and screamed at the VFC officials about some supposed deletions that had taken place earlier. He warned them about making any mistakes and stormed out.
A little after 1 PM I finally got my turn, checked if my gender said F instead of M, and grinned away at the camera.
And within a few minutes, I heard my name being called out and scurried to grab my ID card.
Okay, I did go to an adventure camp after all.