January 25 marks National Voters Day, to celebrate and encourage more young voters to take part in the political process. I remember the day when I voted for the first time. I remember it correctly because I had to put in extra effort just to make sure I could vote!
April 17, 2014, was the day when elections had to take place in Gwalior, the constituency I belong to. Unfortunately, I had to sit for my semester exams in the same month, and this particular date had been booked for one of the practical exams.
It was obvious that the exam couldn’t be ignored for the sake of voting. So, I and a friend of mine decided to visit the Collectorate office in Jabalpur to see if there would be a possible way out, something like a ‘proxy’ vote. But, we had a hard time there. So, we were left confused two days before the election.
The next day, as a last resort, we tried to have the exam postponed. We reached out to several local activists and support groups, and put pressure on our Principal to reschedule the exam. Initially, he was reluctant, but he agreed to do it after a long debate. That was all we wanted.
However, it was a not-so-easy task to have to travel from Jabalpur to Gwalior, without a ticket reservation, and that too for 12 hours, overnight. But, we were so happy that we finally got the opportunity to vote, we didn’t care about the journey as much. We managed to get into the general bogie and got seats to sit at least.
I voted the next day, with much excitement. I got to know an important detail, that election ink is basically Silver Nitrate. It stays on the skin and nail for around 72-96 hours, lasting around two to four weeks on the fingernail and the cuticle area. It disappears only with the growth of the nail, which takes up to four months.
Believe it or not, I still have this mark on my fingernail. It reminds me of my first voting experience and story associated with it.