My voter Id card was made a year ago, and it still had my old address which meant that my polling booth was 22kms away from my home. And since it was peak summer and a forced holiday I wouldn’t have set out of my house for anything else, but this was something, nothing could hold me back from executing.
Now, this was the first time I was voting and I am a complete novice to as to how the entire process works. Like the college elections were pretty different, there were only 2 options and you knew the candidates personally and there wasn’t much significance either.
Now about whom to vote for in the Parliament it was an easy decision and people who really know me, would need no hints to know where my allegiances lie. But for the assembly segment, I wasn’t too sure. I did discuss with a couple of my colleagues and then in the larger interest of the state finally decided the party for whom I would cast my vote. More so because it was in alliance with the other party for which I would normally have voted.
I arrived at the Polling Booth, supposedly a High School with my friend Sumeet at about noon time. The dilapidated building had some nine rooms ( I cannot call them classrooms), broken benches, blackboards filled with cobwebs and fans, which creaked continuously.
A single Policeman was manning the entire Booth and there were hardly about 20 odd people waiting to cast their votes. I noticed except the two of us all the other prospective voters had a slip, which mentioned their name and polling booth details, while I clutched my prized voter card. I prodded my friend who went and asked whether that slip was also necessary and if yes, where to obtain the same. Much to my relief, the official told us that, the Voter id card was sufficient.
While waiting for our turn, we were analyzing the people in the queue before us, and trying to guess whom they would vote for. In about half an hour my turn came, and as I presented my Id, they validated the same and asked me to proceed to the booth.
On a table covered by cartons on three sides was the EVM. There were two such tables, one for the Lok Sabha and the other for the Assembly. I was soon done with casting my vote for the LS and I proceeded to the Assembly segment, that’s when I noticed that, the EVMs had only the name of the Candidate and his party’s symbol.
Now since I had thought of voting for a regional party, and was so sure that the EVM would contain the name of the party that I did not even bother to check the name of the candidates, and as it turned out to be I did not even remember the symbol. (Talk about being an informed young generation voter).
So here I was trying to guess the name of the person, and I tried to recollect the various posters and graffiti outside to remember the name unsuccessfully. Finally, I did something that I knew would improve my chances, I tried to eliminate the choices. Having written so many competitive exams which had multiple choices, I was good at something they called the intelligent guess. This worked on the principle of elimination of choices.
Now in a competitive exam, you have four maximum five options, here there were fifteen. Finally, the impatient that I am, I zeroed in on one and pressed my thumb to caste the vote in his favour.
As soon as I came out, I looked at the notice board which had the names of all the candidates with the party name and symbol and I was thrilled to note that, I had managed to give my vote to the right candidate.
So that was my first experience at voting. Even though in my excitement and eagerness I almost goofed up, I still am proud of myself that I was one of the 60 odd percentage of people who went and cast their vote and did their bit for the Country.
The only disappointment I have is that I have to wait for another five years to go through this entire exercise again.