Friday, 3 January 2014

Getting 'INKED' : Our VOICE, Our VOTE

Piklu, Bablai, Pratik & Tinni ....from the last Elections

"It's confirmed ....I'm getting myself inked this year!"
I knew this piece of voice message would kick start an incredulous sounding plethora of voices, on a Sunday morning, from the other members of my Wechat 'Housing Buddies' group! (We were childhood friends,  residents of the same housing complex,  until recently, when jobs got some of us to drift apart! )

Within a few seconds, there was Tinni: "Doc, are you alright??"

Sure enough, Piklu blasted in, " Bhai, khorak korchhis sokkal-bela ?"  (Colloquial Bengali for: Bro, you're making this lame joke, first up, early Sunday morning?" )

Bablai , our 'yo' guy,working in Bangalore barged into the conversation , " Yo mate, I'm in.... I'll get myself a new one too!"

Pratik , posted in Chennai , was the last one to chime in, " but seriously Doc, where have you intended to do this bit of Tattoo ?? On your cheeks??" And sent in a nastily smirking smiley! :)) 

I had framed my words deliberately, just to incite their curiosity, because ,to my friends, the very idea of me, the quintessentially sober Bengali 'Good boy' Doctor was preposterous! To them, I was the last person who'd get himself 'inked' !! 

So I again sent in a voice message, " I think we're all together in this! We're going to get this done together! "
Bablai was excited," Done! I'm game already! I need my second tattoo, right here, on the forearm! " 
Pratik was guarded, " I demand to know, where has Doc decided to get himself inked! Is Titas up for some new experiment of his???! "

Piklu was not interested at all, while Tinni sent in a 'Punch' sticker!

With the stage set, I finally decided to spill the beans: " Guys, come on! All of us are gonna have our left index fingers inked with indelible ink! We are going into the General Elections , you see! So when are you all returning to Kolkata? You're all going to get leave from work to vote, right?"

Bablai was the first to respond, " Sure bro! I'm always looking for excuses to return home. I'm coming back definitely! "
Tinni was excited, " Yep! My second chance to vote! I sure feel strong ,being one of the driving force , who can change the course of my nation! " 
Pratik's voice made me uncomfortable, " Hey .... Politics doesn't interest me in any way! Voting ,or no voting, it's all the same! "
Piklu, reciprocated, " Yeah, Prats man.... Even I'm not sure whether I'll go to the booth. No point standing in a queue , and pressing a meaningless button, to select a so-called People's Representative , who'll be a parasite on us only! "

Pratik was fast ," And I don't feel that I can stand his haughtiness in front of the public & media, for the next five years of his tenure. At least, by not voting, I'll feel I've done something right by not having a hand in choosing an evil person! "

I had vague  premonitions that we'd have this sort of diverse opinion in our group chat , so the abrupt turn in conversation , didn't surprise me too much. So I now tried to reason," Let me say something. Mates, do look at the bigger picture. Don't you feel, we have this responsibility to select wisely, and shape a better tomorrow for India? As Tinni said, don't we feel powerful??" 
Tinni put in a 'Thumbs Up' smiley! 
Bablai put in a sticker , showing him flexing his biceps! :)) 
Even Pratik guffawed at Bablai's choice of sticker! /wahaha 

This time Piklu had something to say," Look, I don't disagree with your view Titas....but the point is , ....Have you ever seen any politician keeping his promises after being elected ?? "
I was prepared for this, "Look, I know we've been duped many a time by our own representatives, but the point remains that we as educated Indians, citizens of our proud nation,can't be aloof to the 'need-for-change' calls resonating within our own motherland."

Tinni chuckled, " Titas is doing pretty well today!  Bravo!" 
Piklu simply replied with a "hmmm /hmm " ....

I went on, " We are privileged that we are empowered with technology ! Now is the time to let go of past grievances & look forward to exercising our rights. Channelise all your angst to your fingers & vote, to demand better governance.  It's possible to be attained. Remember, even the elected candidates would be wary of the powers of our generation today.....What social media like Facebook , Twitter, social Apps like Wechat, Whatsapp, Hike , Viber can do. Our politicians know we can form opinions and arouse the youth of today in no time. So, we the Young Indians are very much on the way to redefine our nation's destiny." 

Tinni added her own views, "we youngsters must stick together in this endeavour to change India's outlook. We share this common goal, so anybody who is indifferent to the need to vote is actually shirking responsibility towards the nation. Sitting at home & cursing the leaders won't do any good to anyone. "

Bablai, who is usually in a constant euphoric state (ensuring we never have a dull moment),and doesn't really claim to be one aware of current affairs, floored us with a brainwave of his, " Guys,  there's this new Voting Button with 'None Of The Above-NOTA' . If you are really averse to someone, opt for NOTA .Do exercise it...but there's no bravado in not voting at all!"

Pratik, who had been silent for some time, now said, "Thanks for the timely reminder Bablai!! Had forgotten all about the NOTA!! Hell yeah, I don't want somebody to forge his identity as Pratik Sarkar and vote in my absence.  I'm gonna be there alright!"

Tinni was elated, "So we are all going to be here right??Me & Titas are stationed in housing as always. Our South Indian recruits would be joining in for the elections!! But our other Kolkata dude Piklu hasn't yet made up his mind right?? He would voluntarily stay away when we four get together, I presume ?? "
Bablai responded, "Would Piklu dare do that , if I get back to Kolkata?? Doesn't he value his life??"

Piklu retorted, " Yes people, our mentor Titas has done a good job in counselling me with his well-versed voice messages !! He can run for the elections himself,  has the Devil's powers to influence people, it seems. Looks like he can make a living out of motivational speaking!!"

But Pratik had a query, "I don't understand one thing. Can't they put in an e-Voting system,so we can vote from where we are??"
Bablai didn't like it. He hated being away from home, away from friends: "Arre Pratik, we are getting to meet on the pretext of the Elections only.  Why grumble??"

Tinni understood Pratik's concern, " Look, Prats has a valid point.  In the long run,e-Voting might be the way forward. It looks feasible enough. We can have a system in place that allows SMS votes to be cast. It will have the option of registering only one vote from a registered voter. Will help people who loathe standing in queues. "
I asked, " What if someone has multiple numbers?? "
Tinni answered , "There's already a new system of stringent rules in place that validates all new customers with proper identification before granting a connection. Telecom companies will have to play a major role in making e-Voting possible soon ! They will probably start off on trial, in municipality elections in metro cities, with a sizeable technologically adept population!"

Bablai was once more the wisecrack, " but I guess , in that case, there would've been no provision of the indelible ink mark on your finger!! And our buddy Titas would've had to think up a new line to start off our group chat , rather than startling all of us , with his 'Getting INKED' Stunt! :P "

We all sent in crazy smileys. :D :D :D /floor /wahaha  =)) ....officially signing our petition,  to be Kolkata's  representatives as the new agents of change in Elections 2014 !!!! 

The pictures are from our first voting experience,  when we were enthusiastic to have breached the 'Adulthood' Level, and went to vote in a bunch! Hope to keep the tradition alive this time also!

Written as part of the Indian General Elections 2014 with Social Mobile Apps contest by Wechat India, in association with Indiblogger.

No comments:

Post a Comment