Meaningless Rants of a Garden Variety Arm-Chair Activist!

Up until last Sunday, the roads of Bangalore were getting an overhaul with flawless blacktops. Power cuts, which usually last for atleast an hour, had their duration suddenly reduced to just a few minutes. Infact, even during rains power cuts were stopped which by Bangalore’s standard was a huge change. But that was before the elections. Now that the great battle is done and dusted with, things are pretty much back to normal or shall I say abnormal. It is now the time for one set of ‘leaders’ to give way to another. In the political wrestling area the incumbent government has been knocked out and the proverbial bell of change has rung. It’s the time for change, a change that would ensure a better future for the state? Well, certainly seems overly optimistic to think so!

Voting, they say, is the power we have in our hands to change things. But do we really or are we made to believe so? Is it just a romantic notion? I am still contemplating the answer; I honestly don’t know what to believe! I haven’t voted in my life ever so far. First I wasn’t eligible and then when I became eligible I was moving around so much that I didn’t know where to apply. And if at all at the time of elections I would still be living at the same place. When I did get one, it was of my home town where I only spend ten days on an average each year. Surely, I can’t vote using that in the current city I am living in. Though there is a process in place to transfer the card from my home state to where I am currently but we all know how efficient or effective the ‘processes’ in our country are!

I know I can’t complain about what is wrong with Government if I don’t exercise my basic right. Isn’t that the rhetoric these days - if you don’t vote you don’t get to criticize? Seems sensible enough but the arm chair activist in me is never deterred and I end up criticizing the system again and again. Well my bad, I guess!

A well meaning colleague of mine asked me why I chose not to exercise my right, my power. But honestly do we really have the power? Do we really? I don’t mind doing something for the society by trying to change their outlook in the way they treat women or in the way we perceive each other. But I find it hard to believe that any government I chose or vote for would come ever to the rescue of the common man. Perhaps I am naïve or just plain stupid! But I just don’t have the faith that change could be affected by a political party hence I don’t feel particularly charged to vote!

Why didn’t I vote? Well I don’t know may be I am just lazy! On a serious note, I am sure there are many like me in the same conundrum. We grow up in one city and then move elsewhere for studies. Then we move around more for jobs and by the time we settle anywhere chances are that a good part of a decade is spent without ever walking in to a polling booth. Addresses in documents keep changing and sometimes it is difficult to find one that would suffice as the proof. Yes, we could very well get the voter’s id in our native place. But since we hardly live there, the entire purpose of the card is defeated. We ofcourse could transfer it to the place we are living in currently but that again is a herculean task just like getting any document from the wonderful and efficient government channels in our country usually is!

Yes, I am to blame. The common man, sorry woman, in me detests going to a government office and running behind a tobacco chewing antagonistic worker for getting my work done. The ordinary person in me is scared of deliberating the bribe to offer after which my work would be done faster by the man behind the desk. Yes, I could raise all the complaints, approach the right channels but does that really work in our country? For those that think that these things do not happen, well they are either living in utopia or are local residents or are extremely lucky. Say I go through all these, what is the guarantee that the person I vote for is actually any better? Skeptical I know!

But nevertheless I want to try and get my Voter’s id card transferred to where I currently live. Perhaps my voting will make a difference or perhaps it wouldn’t. I certainly am inclined to go with the latter, negative outlook I agree! But then what’s really the difference between buffoons of different garden varieties at the helm? Well atleast to the garden variety arm chair activist in me, they all seem alike!