A RECEIPT FOR EVERY VOTER, PLEASE!

LOK SABHA POLLING AT THE GOVERNMENT HIGH SCHOOL, DONA PAULA ON MAY 7, 2024…turned out to be a pleasant half-day morning outing! No long queues and there was time enough to look around at the scene-scenery of trees, read the chalked up message at the nicely-done up cool eco-friendly venue, say hello to friends Anju and Auduth Timblo who had come in to cast their vote, sip the bottled drink of “Minute Maid” Nimbu Fresh offered free to all voters!

FOR a while I thought, forget it, as if it will make any difference, my one vote! Increasingly, there’s this viewpoint that elections are just vile selections and money calls the shots with the same old politicians turning up for power, profit and control – to turn the country into a basket case of mega rich sarkar, pitifully ever poor praja struggling to cope with needs and a few wants with dignity and without being beholden to anyone.
But how difficult it is becoming to earn an honest living these days! In our version of the snakes and ladders game there are those who live the good life of utopia while the many try to stay out of the basket cases of dystopia as long as they can…all the political hosannas of guarantees and promises fall flat after elections are over and so begins another spiraling of inflationary prices. If I may say so, mangoes in the mango month of May are still selling at an all time high of Rs500-600 per dozen…it is no longer the common man’s fruit.
And I was thinking of the cost of healthcare – in Goa one may spend a few months in a Goa Medical College & Hospital ward, and end up spending Rs5 lakh plus, plus on caretakers good, bad and ugly. For there are few who can be by their patient around the clock, other duties of livelihood call.
Or take a call on the price of medicines today or diagnostic tests: Last week I found an IBS or irritable bowel syndrome drug called IBset costing Rs550 for a strip for a week, hiking up Rs750 with the pharmacy friend telling me it would go up by Rs70 some more. This is a medicine to be taken twice daily per doctor’s prescription. Along with all this add on the cost of probiotics like Vibact, Pan40 for acidity, enzymes, the cost of adult diapers is mindboggling (diapers for babies and seniors add to the mountainous amount of non-biodegradable waste we generate as a dangerously sick civilization in mind and body, heart and soul)!
ALL these bleak thoughts aside since I’ve always gone out to vote like a good citizen, this time too I went out to exercise my franchise as an Indian citizen on May 7, 2024 which was declared a holiday officially. I particularly love to visit THE Government High School at Dona Paula on the way to the Dona Paula jetty, it has a number of interesting trees to say hello to! Clearly, the message had gone out to do up the polling stations along eco-friendly and green lines and many were very invitingly cool affairs to say the least hear.
All went off smoothly and I don’t understand why we should get our forefinger inked before instead of after casting one’s vote! Also I think this inking is terribly retrogressive and childish and a far more useful thing to do in the interests of fair play is to entitle each voter to a receipt – stating that they have voted, name, place, time, as also who they voted for printed on it. The next time I’m not voting if I don’t get such a receipt. This is a very useful thing to do and the Election Commission of India should pursue this by way of much needed electoral reforms in the interests of the public…
The water facility put up was a real boon for it was a searing hot blue-skied day on May 7 and on my way out a Sangeeta here sweetly insisted my take my free Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh bottled drink! I had a glass of water instead and gave away the bottle to somebody!
I must confess I wasn’t a happy voter this time around, and felt like in India and Bharatdesh people are being constantly having to choose two evils, like choosing between the devil and the deep sea. Only in poor, unhappy countries people have to choose between evils, lesser evils and greater evils!
In a happy country I imagine we would be choosing between two larger goods instead of two larger evils…I’ll leave you to decide if the BJP is the deep sea or the devil, or the Congress, my dears. I wish these bloody political marriages of defections could be rooted out of our political history once and for all time…on that note it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista, vachun yeta for now. Keeping my fingers crossed for real ache din to come in 2024 or at least before the ink on my forefinger has faded away!

­—Mme Butterfly

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