The First Time I Voted, I Had To Travel For 12 Hours, But It Was Worth It

Image provided by the author.

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.

Featured image provided by the author.
Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below