18 April 2009

To vote, to vote! (But first to get my name on that List!!)

I want to tell my own little election story today, though it might already be somewhat late for that.

About a week or so ago, I put in an application to include my name in the electoral roll for the fourth time in about eight years. The last two attempts were in Kolkata, the first one was in Hubli.

This time we set out from the house, determined to get my name on the electoral roll, or well, perish trying. We may not have perished, but wilt we did (it was about 39 degrees C, and a woman died that day of heat stroke). We hunted down the right office and the right person – no mean task in a government of West Bengal office – and put in the application.

We had to go up and down four buildings (Shaw Wallace House at Bankshall Street, Jessop Building, a nameless one, and New Secretariat) over about five hours to achieve this. It was quite like a treasure hunt, a clue here and a hint there.

Our misery was because of the Great De-limitation that had made our constituency – Burtolla – non-existent. Though it made sense for us to be part of Manicktala, we weren’t. It turned out that we were now part of Jorasanko – where Mr Tagore’s house is situated. We didn’t know which constituency we were part of, and that was disconcerting. It was as if, electorally, we didn’t exist. Our identity was at stake now.

But we wouldn’t even have known we didn’t exist, if not for the last-minute check by the very helpful officer in charge of Manicktala constituency. We had almost submitted my application there, when he discovered that our street didn’t exist in his constituency. Ananda Babu helped us out here and told us we were in Jorasanko now.

In between these buildings somewhere, a group of leching government officers tried their best to make us give up. (They were a bit put off that they had to stop leching at me to talk to us.) They plainly told us roll revision was not on and we were trying in vain. But, fearless voter (Linc) and voter-to-be (me) as we were, we strode on.

It ended at the rather old New Secretariat building, Or, at least, that’s what we’d like to believe. Election day will tell.

Oh, and that’s not the end of it. It was still eating Linc that he couldn’t find his street in the Manicktala list, so he got on the net and made the bloomin discovery that our street didn’t exist even in Jorasanko. Well, actually, it did, but under a changed name.

Now, though he called and faxed about this mistake to the election office, and they said they would look into it (! – as they always do), our entire para (street) might just get disqualified from voting because our street doesn’t exist on their list. Aah, the suspense is eating me up.

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