May 2018 was special. I voted for the first time ever. Not for the lack of intent or initiative. I was just never around in my home city to get myself registered before elections or on the actual polling days. I had attempted to register on two occasions during non-election season, but it was not meant to be. For years I saw an acknowledgment slip tacked on the father’s notice board, alongside his tasks listed for the day. And I’m certain he looked at it numerous times a day.
Meanwhile, I got myself Aadhaared, renewed the passport, got a duplicate copy of my driving license but the voter ID eluded me. Until I moved cities, and my new city embraced me. Three years, rented accommodation and a new language later, the husband procured a new identity for me during a registration drive before the state went for elections. He returned twice to secure an acknowledgement slip, upon my insistence. But the officials had neither the time nor the inclination to hand one over. They just told him to visit a fortnight later.
He did, with more scepticism than hope. And he was in for a surprise! The ID was ready. It did have one tiny mistake though. But nothing that would stop me from exercising my right, more than a decade after turning 18. To say I was on cloud nine was an understatement.
I went to the polling booth all wide-eyed and curious. Another first. The closest I had gotten to this sight was in Newton. The stern officials had little time for niceties and the wide smile plastered on my face. They each had one job. And answering my doubts wasn’t that. But my noobness was apparent, and finally someone directed me.
I was a hodgepodge of feelings on the ride back home. Elation, ecstasy, gratitude, pride, I could have filled a thesaurus.