The nightmare began several months ago. A man verifying the voters’ list pressed our doorbell, ringing the death knell of my status as a normal citizen of this great land. My family members were excommunicated from the electoral rolls! I dashed off an e-mail to the editors of this newspaper, hoping to catch the attention of the powers that be. I duly filled Form 6 with proof of identity and residence, and submitted it to the local municipal office. Nobody seemed to care that we had lived in the same address for over a decade, voted in all previous elections, and continued to possess official voters’ identity cards to prove it. The voters’ list was revised, yet we still did not exist.
No, I had not morphed into a gigantic insect, though the chain of events did resemble a Kafkaesque nightmare. I continued to spend most of my time breathing, eating and sleeping on this very planet, and I did indeed cast a shadow wherever I stood. The fact that I walked proved that I was not yet dead. The friendly neighbourhood grocer, dhobi, watchman, fishmonger and garbage collector were my witnesses. But then, they also probably didn’t exist according to the current electoral rolls.
Taking time to introspect, I wondered where I had erred. When I submitted my Form 6 to the concerned official, did I incur disapproval in presumptuously asking for an acknowledgement? I did notice that the figure of august authority was too busy to tear off acknowledgement slips for others. If I returned to the same official with my form, would he remember the tall lady with hair like a bird’s nest after a storm? The quest for truth and justice is an arduous task. One must keep faith, be determined, and learn to think out of the box. I thought of a stratagem worthy of the Gestapo or Mossad to bypass my gaffe in dealing with upholders of supreme authority. This time, I sent our forms in the hands of a trusty and suitably nondescript local lad. Mission accomplished, the lad returned with acknowledgements, that too without even having to ask. I am praying, crossing my fingers and toes, and touching wood. God and officialdom willing, my ninety-plus father will realize his dream of being the oldest voter from his constituency.