The day dawns bright and clear. I am awake. So early! Eyebrows lift, frowns appear and questions arise. It is only seven o'clock and that too on a Sunday morning. "What is she doing out there at the gate? Ah! The newspaper," Dad quips. An excited voice joins in "Is the University declaring results..."
But I am out of earshot, scanning the front, state and national pages of the print trying to gauge, to feel ... the pulse. Everything is normal. No curfews imposed, no bandhs called for, no rioting reported and no incitements..I mean nothing major...only minor titbits...two killed, four held, some clashes. But thank God, no disruptions. It is D-Day.
I am brushed, combed and now...dressed? What should I wear? Funky hip denim matched with a tee and floaters...No..No.I must look mature..responsible...
confident..decisive and capable. A fabIndia kurta, churidar and sturdy shoes complete my apparel. I tie my hair into a neat pony, no flying tresses.
It is about to strike eight. I tell myself to hurry. It is D-Day. "Are you going for a jog? Then go to the Mother Dairy...and also put this complaint in the R.W.A. box." Indignation and exasperation creep inside me. "Can't you get Dad to do such mundane things? After all...today...of all days..." I march out.
My step is quicker today, there is a bounce and rhythm now. For two decades this day has eluded me. It could have been two years earlier, but everyone colluded to keep me away. Vested interests have favoured the postponement of today. But.....
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I reach the gates. No line greets me. Frisked, checked and identified- I am declared 'me'. As the pen ticks me, I get the sceptre- the wand, the power to finally decide. The red glow satiates my desire, and intoxicates my being. I have voted at last. The Black Mark on my left forefinger nail validates me- THE CITIZEN OF INDIA.
By Manjari Chaturvedi
Editor's note: The writer had her proud moment a few years ago and fondly (and vividly) remembers the day. After getting the most identifiable (and indelible) mark on her finger, she decided to wield another magic wand - the pen - and leave behind the memory for posterity. For the benefit of our readers, she generously shared her thoughts that was for long her sole keeping. We expect more such contributions from her.