A good friend of mine - fellow-misadventurer and Obama-obsessor - who tracked the US elections with the same gusto and actually did the high-pitch groupie scream in front of the office building on November 5th, asked me if there was a primer to the Indian elections. She isn't Indian, or even Asian so the concept of 714 million people going to vote over 4 weeks, with over 300 parties where the issues were not as straight as life/ choice, war/ peace, black/ white was a bit new to her.
Ever the patriot, I trolled the web to see if there was anything that could make the remotest sense as a Politics 101. As expected, there wasn't. Most articles already assumed a fair knowledge of India and the players (makes sense really, in a country where everyone's a self-declared expert on the subject?)
So - I wrote one. Nice and long, not long enough that it'd bore the hell out of the lovely J, but long enough so that all was covered. I am proud of my Politics 101. If my undergrad degree had been one-hundredth as much fun, I'd have actually enjoyed it, and not been quite so happy getting out of college. That's food for thought for all you young kids out there. Listen to chechi, choose your college course well. If you don't give a crap about thermodynamics or statics or electronics, DON'T take up a course that'll make you devoted to exactly that! Sounds simple enough? No, not so simple when you're staring at the thickened road that's future with only your AISSCE cert for company.
< end repressed adolescent rage that really came out of nowhere >
Back to happy and happening things. One of my favourite colleagues is back in India for the weekend. He and the lovely wife put themselves on a flight so they could cast their votes. Another colleague advanced his core leave so he could catch polling day in Delhi. They were surprised at how impressed and happy I was to hear this, because as far as they go - this is the most natural thing to do, right? It's the elections - we vote! Which, if it was possible, impressed me even more.
The reason I was so openly in a fangirlish, unable-to-conceal-the-zeal awe is because I've met way too many - too many - Indians specialized in dissing the country. Oh the roads are bad, the politicians are corrupt, the pollution is awful. India will never improve. Gore. Lash. Swisherydash. NRI? Never-Returning Indian. Haha. If any of you can remember similar conversations with me, yes it was godawful to hear your absolutely notwithinspittingdistanceofthoughtprovoking rant and no, it isn't cool.
The truth is - your nationality is a bit like your team, your family, or your hair. You get what you're given and make the most of it. And I don't know about you, but I am proud of all three (team, family, country. And hair) and wouldn't have it any other way. So it is good to be where there are people who understand this thought process, and know better than to trivialize it for kicks.
PS: As I understand the good Packan cast his vote this weekend too. Proud of you! Now go update your blog.
PPS: And while there is much - too much - I can write on this topic, there are stocks waiting to be picked. And fundas with my name on it. But at the back of my mind is the constant train, looking at ways to tread on similar topics without making it sound like I'm cheesing off everyone in the opposition, but after three drafts I'm still at a loss.