“How is it possible? I even have a voter’s card!”
I was in my school, to register to vote in the upcoming General elections. I was waiting in the line and ahead of me was Mrs.Braganza, whose name seemed to be missing in the voter’s list.
Stepping in your school after a long time is a surreal experience and I’m sure everyone has experienced it. You are transported to another world. I could see myself, running around and playing as a kid, shouting in squeaky voices.
“It’s simply not possible. I even voted in the last elections.” Mrs.Braganza explained to the volunteer.
I was in the classroom meant for the polling activities. I was to register my parents and my sister for voting as well. One had to find his name on the voter’s list and then register to vote with the serial number mentioned alongside it. I was still in the queue, behind Mrs. Braganza, chatting with my teachers and some old friends who had come to register to vote as well.
“My name is not on the list. I was very eager to vote.” Said one.
“Someone has already signed in my name. I don’t understand what has happened.” Complained another.
I explained the guy to check with his neighbour as they might’ve signed next to his name by mistake.
Mrs. Braganza was still squabbling with the volunteer.
“Aunty, aapka naam nahin hai. Tehsildar ke paas jaana hoga aapko.” The volunteer explained. Your name is not on the voter’s list. You would have to go to the Tehsildar’s office for this.
She was adamant. The volunteer was not too keen to help her. I intervened.
“Her name is missing and she has to go to the Tehsildar in Thane to get her name in the list.” The volunteer said.
I asked Mrs. Braganza if she had voted before.
“Of course Son, I have. I even have the Voter’s ID with me.” She replied.
I took the list in my hands and offered to look it up for her. She was very old and frail and was visibly flustered with the day’s happenings.
11.35 AM. My class was at 2.00 PM.
It took me the better part of the next 2 hours to locate her name. Finally, I exclaimed “Here it is!! Rosemary Braganza and Caesar Braganza!”
She mumbled her thanks and left. The list is in Marathi and maybe that was the reason she couldn’t locate her name.
I sat down to locate mine. Very intelligently, I went through the names in my building, I saw my mom, my dad & my sister as well. I was the only one missing. I had missed the first lecture, I hoped to finish it off to be in time for the second one at least.
Finally, I found my name. It was a good 500mts from where I live. I was mentioned among the new voters as “Ayyappan Pillai, Swami Samarth Chowk, No Address”
I still don’t know where ‘Swami Samarth Chowk’ is...