Why I will not vote this election!

You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain (From the Dark Knight)

I will tell you a couple of stories before I start making real points that have some chance of swaying your vote, let me tell you a few stories first, simply coz that is the only thing I am good at.

It was just after the commonwealth games had ended. I was half a globe away in Berlin, attending a conference on Effect of a drug on TB. The company I worked for had paid an American firm to conduct clinical trials on patients suffering from TB using our drug. They were awefully behind schedule - their reason - TB patients they had were usually poor Indians who didnt appearon time for their next dosage - The presentation was given by a lady with an American accent but who clearly had an Arabic name - She actually included pictures of Suresh Kalmadi and Commonwealth Games to show how corrupt and disorganised Indians are, unaware that I, sitting right in front of her was an Indian. While my blood boiled (We all have a bit of Sunny Deol in us, I guess) and I was about to give her a piece of my mind,  my Australian boss whispered in my ear - Let it go...

I let it go.

In another incident, a friend of mine, came late to college. It must be 2006 and I must be in the third year of Engineering. He told me a weird reason for him coming late to class - The brakes on his bus failed.

Okay. So, I wil let that sink in. How did he make it alive? As it turns out - The bus had no brake when it left the depot. It just fucking did! A public vehicle, meant to take people from one point to another, albeit only 5 kms, didnt have working brakes! How does one catch the bus then? The driver slows down, not by braking, coz there are no brakes but by taking the foot off the accelerator. People run and catch the bus. Why not take the next bus then? The next bus was after an hour. And while all of this might seem like a far off village, he stayed only 3 kms off the border of Mumbai!!!

How was this okay? I asked him. He's a resilient guy. Son of a tailor, he's now made it decently big. Ever smiling, he said - Let it go.

I let it go.

I was 18 when I got my learners' driving licence. It was tough work. They asked me all sorts of questions, made me run from counter to counter. I was 18. I was convinced that I dont want to pay any money to the If a man cant have ideals at that age, then really when can he? I got the licence and came home triumphant. When I had to convert the learners licence to Drivers' licence is however when they got me. They wouldnt pass me if I didnt pay a bribe. Of course, they didnt say that directly. I paid. Felt terribly, shared with a cousin. He told me how I dont have to renew my licence for the next 20 years! I could chill out. I should let it go.

I have been letting stuff go for years now. Life, especially a man's life, really is all about learning the rules of the game, play according to the system, and wheevr possible beat the system for good. Indians are good at walking in a herd. It's easy. And safe. We dont wanna be excellent or anything. We just wanna be above average. Imagine a country of a billion just wanting to be above average. 

When a man stood against well established parties with crores of funds, stepped into the public domain, some were amazed at his courage. He could obviously not win, could he. But he almost did. A party with years of combined governance experience emerged as a single largest party, and to everyone's surprise asked the new guy to make a government! Wow! 

Masterstroke, though. It exposed AAP's lack of experience in governance, lack of penetration in the lower ranks. Media crazy AAP MLAs obviously didnt know how to work. In the meanwhile, the BJP suporters (God bless them) who had been waiting to form a government for 10 years in the centre, could see a ray of light. 

Abki baar Modi Sarkar. Abki baar Modi Sarkar.Abki baar Modi Sarkar. Abki baar Modi Sarkar. Bas kar yaar.

So many of their ads are playing on prime time. I am like, let them win if they will shut up. They did their India Shining campaign in 2004, and we all know how that turned out. Someone remind them of that time.

I see Modi peering out of posters, giving serious look, like a few thousand died in Gujurat (Oh.. wait...) How many more months will I have to see the same orange posters with the same - Abki baar Modi Sarkar! - Slogan. Modi is like Mithun Chakrabothy. He can be a part of a shit movie and it will still be a hit. 

Just to make it clear, I am not a Modi hater. I once was, but not now. I meet HNI clients, most of them Gujurati, and all of them praise the efficiency of the babus in dhokla land. And one thing that I know is if a Mumbai guy says that theres a place better than Mumbai then its gotta be true. All my friends who hae visited Surat, Ahmadabad have been all gaga over their roads, 24/7 electricity, clean footpaths. And let me make it clear, if Modi stood from my constituency, I would definitely vote for him.

Also let me clear that I am not too impressed by Congress' ads either. Rahul Gandhi, in deep thought, showing his dimpled profile for the female voters, annoys me. His speeches are fun though. Anyway, Congress is not going to win, and should not win, so I will not waste any words.

You know, whose ads I have been impressed by? AAPs! Because I havent seen any. That is exactly how it should be. BJP is selling itself more than SRK sold Ra.One. And we all know when people oversell - when the goods are crap. 

When people call BJP govt - Modi sarkar, it pisses me off. It wont be Modi sarkar. It would be Modi - Rajnath- Jaitley- Swaraj sarkar. And none of these guys should impress you.

On the other hand, you have Kejriwal - Sanyal - Medha - Bhushan sarkar. And that sounds a lot better than the above. 

Imagine India's governance as a white bed sheet. There are numerous stains on this bed sheet. Poor Justice system, Poor roads, Public transport, poverty... They are stains of various sizes. They are chai stains, pickle stains, piss and blood stains. But the biggest stain of them all, or as ads call it - Ziddi daag - is Corruption. If we can get rid of this, we will be a super power. Kejriwal's party is the Tide we all are waiting for.

Read all three of my stories, Commonwealth made us a laughing stock because of corrupt officals. The driver could driver an unsafe bus because he knew he wouldnt be reprimanded. And why was the bus in such poor shape? It's one of India's richest districts!! I had to pay for the liscence because the RTO is corrupt, and so am I. I am not much better than all the others I am cribbing about here. 

But this guy - Kejriwal is. He might be attention hungry, he might not be a great Governor, he might be the B team of Congress or BJP or the CPM, but hes not corrupt. And that is what we need at this moment. Modi, even if I accept is not corrupt, his party is - Let us not forget Bangaru Laxman. And to be honest, if I had a party which grew as big as the BJP, I would have to be corrupt. I would be pushed by my peers to accept, Adani's offer of a Chopper and a lot more that I cant waste my time writing about. 

And that is why I wont vote this time. Not for AAP even. Because its just like buying a car. You spend time researching what car to buy, what fits the budget, what suits your personality, what would your friends think about you when you drive it to the office, and then you spend time convincing them what a great car it is coz you bought it. It might actually be a great car, but your friends wont buy it. My wife and my sister both tell me that when I like something, I sell the idea of owning it to everybody. The said thing might not be as excellent as I make it sound.

So I have decided I wont buy the car, but I would want you to buy it. It is a great car. It is an honest car. It might not have the comfortable seats, but it has a great engine. And that is what matters in the end. 

Abki baar, Ek aisi sarkar, jo kare Bharat ka udhaar!

Jai Hind!
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6 letters to the editor:

    On March 31, 2014 at 10:40 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    Good write-up, indeed but I'm not quite convinced :-(

    Well, let's say you had a domestic help who works average, satisfying the household's needs but who you become convinced stole money / household articles. Then of course, you do fire her. You hire the help next door because of her reputation of honesty. Then you realise within the first week that she is clumsy, has broken your favourite crockery and its because she cannoy finish chores on time you are getting late to work every day.

    Under such circumstances, you will still continue her services just because she is honest? I would like your view on this one.

    On April 1, 2014 at 2:40 PM     
    Unknown said...

    Hey Arshat,

    Very nice quote on our current state of affairs. But I am equally saddened to know that a highly educated youngster like you has decided not to caste his vote. If we don't vote, then we have no right to criticise the system. I know it will sound exaggerated, but a single vote can make a difference. As they say, "Bad politicians are not born, they are created by good people who go on a picnic on voting day". If you feel no one is worth it, go for the NOTA option. But one should always exercise this wonderful right bestowed on us by our constitution.
    Now coming back to your story, let me be clear that I am voting for Modi this election. Not that I am in awe of him, but for a simple reason that having let congress rule for most of the part post our freedom, its high time we give an opportunity to the most prominent opposition party of our country. If they don't deliver, 2019 is not too far.
    And I have nothing against your Kejriwal guy. He seems to be a honest person. But can we entrust a bunch of honest people having zero experience of governance with the huge responsibility of running a country like India? Let him gain some experience and we can try him out in 2019.

    @Anon

    Thanks for the comment.

    I will make a cost benefit analysis. Is the maid stealing more than I am making in my day job? And is she really that good at her job? If she was, why didnt I pay her more? If I didnt, and assuming I am a fair man, she must not be very good at her work.

    The maid whos honest and clumsy, can get better at her work, but the maid whos good at her work and a thief cant become honest.

    That is what I think.

    @Unknown

    Thanks for the comment.

    I like your inclusive thinking. The thing sgain is, you are not going to vote for Modi, you are going to vote for some MP who is a rep of BJP standing from your constituency. I dont know who that person is, so I cant comment on him. But to think, Modi, with the likes of Thackrey, Yeddurappa to name a few can form an honest government is too optimistic.

    It was okay when we didnt have an option. But now we do! How can we not exercise the option.

    Its silly of us to keep choosing the similar people only belonging to diff parties, hoping things would change.

    Things would change when we choose diff people. Honest people. And not in 2019, but now, when we have the chance.

    On April 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM     
    A.J said...

    By not voting you actually support the guy getting a majority.
    Could have tried fro NOTA atleast.

    I really liked your take here. However, I didnt completely got why u wont be voting. If its because u dont know the person (from aap) standing from your constituency, I would like to tell you that what aap is uniquely poised to bring to the country's politics this time is not a stable government but a voice that has some legal weight. Trust me, no matter which party comes to power, they wont allow aap to develop as easily in the next 5 years as it did over the course of last 6 months. A variety of events, both national and international have made this opportunity unique this time and that is what has caught people's imagination. If we fail to add that one vote to aap's legal weight bag this time, we are gonna strangle the voices. Its not the media, its not the people and its not only arvind kejriwal and anna that have nurtured this new notion of aap, its the u ique set of events that have set a chain reaction. At the national level, bjp and congress have been the only 2 voices that we have ever heard in this nation. The decentralized nature of aap is a fresh and welcome competition to these two voices. So, plz plz vote for your aap candidate.