It was janmashtmi – nothing, as far as I could tell, to do with Hanuman but voila, we turned a corner near the Metro cinema and there he was, being readied with much dusting and oiling to be taken elsewhere in the city. Later that same night, we ran into him on Mahim causeway! 😀
I guess you can get an idea of how large he loomed from the perspective around him. So very cool!
I didn’t know until very recently that Mumbai is one of the very few places in the world that hosts flamingos within city limits. (Nairobi and Miami are two others.) So of course I wanted to go see. And with a video journalist friend and an expert ornithologist friend, I went off to do a piece on them (hey, why not share with the world?) The flamingo photos I took are not worth publishing, they were too far away, but, on one of the quays, against the backdrop of an oil refinery and a thermal power plant blurred by grey wisps of smog and a flock of flamingos rocking gently like rose petals on oil, were these rotting, abandoned boats. Sewri was nothing like I expected. But these boats just grabbed me. Quite poetic a metaphor, aren’t they?(If you’d like, you can listen to the story and see Nitin’s photos)
Here we go! I finally feel like a citizen and an adult. All the years I lived abroad and paid state and federal tax, I never got a say in the process. Now, finally, I feel like I actually belong. I had to fight for it ;D But I did vote!
So, you read about how I was sure they’d ripped up my application after I’d left when I went to register. I checked online but my name wasn’t on the list. My parents got their voter ID cards, I didn’t. But, with fingers crossed, I went to check the updated list at the polling station, anyway. And of course, they couldn’t find my name, so I had to go find the ‘building list’. After visiting seven local volunteer tables with their building lists, and a good darshan of the entire area, we located the list and my name wasn’t on it.
Enter my Knight on a Steel Horse – a volunteer went off on a motorcycle after making a few calls to actually get the ‘supplementary list’ of new registrants that all the booths were sharing. Twenty minutes later, he roared up to tell me I’d been registered as purush (male) but … I had a temporary voter ID! I could have hugged him!
I hightailed it to the polling station where the volunteers seemed genuinely happy I’d returned and could vote! Since I could prove with my presence and my state ID that I’m really not male, two hours, much sweat, lots of repetitive questions and only a few lines later, I had cast my first vote ever*. And it was such a high! I was psyched for hours after! If you haven’t voted before, I highly recommend it 😉
*I left India when I was 18. This is the first election since I’ve returned! Of course, the year I finally get to vote, they switch to inking the middle finger. I could have put in an obscene gesture but … eh, I’m more mature than that. 😉