Yes, I am a procrastinator and I was convinced I am my country’s worst citizen. Jaagore.com reminded me time and again and yet, I would say ‘next weekend!’
Finally, I managed to get my documents together, ensured I had true copies, photos and set off to the ERO situated at the address mentioned on Jaagore.com to ensure that my name gets added to the voters’ list. I blessed Raj, who had made things so damn easy for jokers like me. Thank God for Raj, lazy bums like me could easily get their right to vote or so I thought.
Of course, as soon as I reached the address I was told the office had moved. So, I went in search of the municipal school where the office was now situated.
‘Documents are all okay, but you don’t have Form 1A.’
‘Jaago Re says its not compulsory,’
‘No No, here fill out and come back after 1st February.’
So yeah, though the website said 23rd Jan was the date, the guy refused to take my form. I had no choice. I made another trip yesterday.
‘Why passport? Ration card is needed,’ he looked at my documents with disdain.
‘Passport is the most relevant document for age, address and identity proof. I am sure this will be accepted,’
‘I don’t think so. Why is your father’s voter id here? Its too old. Finding the number will take too much time, find someone nearby whose id was issued recently.’
‘Nobody in my building has a new one!’
‘Go and find, don’t say no without checking.’
And then I lost it. I started arguing that it was his job to find the number not mine. Finally I was redirected to a lady who sweetly told me that the passport was okay but the form won’t be accepted until 1st week of March.
‘Will my name appear in the list though?’
‘It will after the revision,’
‘Will the revision happen before election?’
‘I think so!’
I walked out with my documents. Angry.
This is my country that prides on being the largest democracy. However, the basic right to vote is a pain to get. I blame myself. I should have done this ages ago. I should have known all the facts and been able to fight it out.
But fight with who? The man who sweetly speaks to the guy who came through the Corporator and guides him with utmost courtesy but is extremely rude to a senior citizen who wants to rectify his erroneous name in the list. Or should I fight with the man who refuses to look up a number even though it is his job to do so? Or should I fight with a system where the minimum qualification for being a leader is a couple of criminal records and a few trips to the jail? Or should I fight people like me who do not find out how the system works or why it works the way it does?
And then I get daunted. I get bogged down.
Our country probably deserves this political apathy. Somebody pointed out to me a few weeks back that this is because we lack the fiery, passionate love for our country. We forget that loving the country goes beyond singing patriotic songs. We have brought on this apathy on ourselves because we refuse to change. We refuse to question and we refuse to fight back even if the battle is immensely long!
BIG thank you to Jaago Re. At least our eyes have opened. Now, lets get up and do something!
PS: My overanalytical mind thinks that these guys are hostile to guys who come through Jaago Re probably on instruction from politicians. Afterall, the parties benefit from low turnouts on voting day and the guys at the ERO have lesser work to do.