The Lok Sabha Elections 2014 – An experience for the Indian Citizen  

And so it has me, just like the entire country.

A Message from half A Cup of Tea - all you need is an ID Proof and 2 Photos to Vote ! Do that.
A Message from half A Cup of Tea – all you need is an ID Proof and 2 Photos to Vote ! Do that.

It’s sunday morning, and I am just back from a long walk in the morning. The city is filled with hoardings and posters and various brands are endorsing “Voting” in the elections.

There are of course the party hoardings of Congress and BJP and there are various corporate endorsing the act of ‘voting for your government’ via hoardings, creatives, initiatives, offering discounts and much more.


I contemplate as I pick up my cup of tea.

Over the last one month, Politics has absorbed me, too. I have read articles, journals, history, watched interviews, gotten into arguments and debates and analyzed events like never before. And anyone can easily say, that THIS is a movement.


After a decade of scams and shams, the country now wants to look forward to a better tomorrow.

And that is where the danger lies.


I remember that time, when the corruption had reached its hilt and the ‘Anna Hazzare’ movement had ensued. The first time it happened, I went to too (I mean, I went only once, just to extend my support by watching. I generally keep a low profile from participating in anything that I am not completely aware of.) I think many of us youth had initially supported it. But then, the ‘dharna’ happened a second time. Then a third time and then a fourth and after that, I gave up. I watched as the country was walking aimlessly and blindly in support of that ray of hope,that promises to bring a better tomorrow. How many of the youth had read the Jan Lok Pal Bill? How many knew what they were standing for? Everyone walked blindly because they found a leader and they trusted him.

I was scared. I had such great fear that I was living in a country where so many people would just get wooed so easily. I felt paranoid to think no one had strong opinions. All they knew was “they are against corruption”.


That was 2011 – 2012.

Do you remember the movement like I do?

At that point – if anyone suspected the intentions of all the involved individuals, they would say,

“ Oh! So you are not anti – corruption is it? You are FOR corruption! go to hell”

And I literally had to cry, that it’s only my skepticism and MORE to just encourage more educated fan following. I had to assert that I am against corruption too!!!! But it’s just that, I am a little skeptical when people can ‘use away’ so much of their time just stalling work.  wouldn’t’ all that affect the growth of this country?


That was 2011 – 2012.

You must also note: That while the whole ‘anti corruption’ movement ensued, the corruption levels around us went down. On a daily life basis, traffic police started to issue proper receipts, rickshaw drivers started to charge by meter and everyone talked about how it would be good to walk on the paths of ethics and doing what is right.

Some benefits did come out of the movement.

But by then, the politics of this country, took a backseat in my life – like for many others. I stopped reading so much and I let things happen (well, they did even without my participation :p but still!)

The Party was formed, AAP came into existence, and they formed the government in Delhi. and then Arvind Kejriwal resigned.

“WHAT!!” I exclaimed watching the news. “He’s crazy!!” I thought and turned off the television. This was Feb, 2014.

But by then, the world around me, had changed.

History was about to repeat itself.

The same blind following and the same extreme “Mera Bharat” chauvinism had returned.

But this time, it wasn’t AAP. It was BJP.


Let me take you back to what I just said. Back in 2011 – 2012 if you sighted skepticism about Arvind Kejriwal, you were deemed “CORRUPT” and in 2014, if you sight even ‘questions’ on the core values of the BJP, you are deemed “PRO CONGRESS” or even worse, “YOU ARE NOT INDIAN ENOUGH” , “you don’t want development for India”. And I have also got the worst-est-est of the kind “Hindus have suffered for so long. It’s time things change”

This time, the patriotism is for Narendra Modi. This time, you can’t say a word against him because if you do- you will be ostracized.

And honestly speaking, I have experienced SO MANY PERSONAL attacks for just raising a few questions, that I totally refrain from talking about my political inclinations.

Last evening at work, I mentioned to a colleague, “We have to go for the Human Chain Initiative tomorrow, to encourage voting!” and he said “Are you going to vote for Narendra Modi?”

I said, “How does that relate to my plans to join the movement?”

He said “Well, if you are not voting for him, don’t bother coming.”

Yes, this is the city where Narendra Modi stands from. Yes, Vadodara is all this alive mostly in support of him. But, why is this ‘choice’ putting us all against each other?

The events of the past few weeks have finally pushed me to the brink, to speak up.

The first thing is, to NOT judge colleagues and friends based on who they are voting for. It is our right to make a choice. We all want the same things – development, peace, prosperity, harmony and success.

The Second thing, I see the same blind movement that happened in 2011. I see the blind following for Bharat Janta Party just because we’re all tired of the corruption around us and we’re tired of seeing a failed government with Congress.

But is it fair to make the same mistake again? To walk blindly in support and not make a well – read choice?

And let me reinforce here, that reading does not mean reading only the posts shared by your friends on facebook. Reading means, researching and finding your own answers.

It is fair if you have read – if not everything, but attempted to learn about your party. It is important, to make an educated vote.

Educate yourself first and then vote.

Read. Ask questions. Find your answers and then vote.

And if you are going to vote only because it’s “your right” or only because it’s such a big deal to vote this time around, then the fact and the truth of the matter is – that your vote is equally biased as anyone who casts a fake vote. Your vote is a fake vote.


Now coming to the third part of my discussion. I have an issue with the way the elections are being promoted and the way the parties are branding themselves. With campaigns that run into a good thousands of crores, where does this money actually come from?

Billboards, radio and TV ads shout slogans so much more than actual people. But while we see so much of it around us, it feels like there’s a wave. I quite suspect it now; to be more of what is projected and purchased, than a real moment that garners support and strength with each passing moment. That, I suspect is happening.

The other day I had some official work at Nyay Mandir (The Court in Vadodara) and I made the visit in the rickshaw. We heard some promotional vehicles moving around and that tempts the rickshaw driver to say, “Aa waqte toh madam, apda Modi kaka aj avana che” (This time our Modi uncle is only going to win.)

I ask him in broken gujarati, “Hmmm. Su game che tamne Modi kaka ma?” (What do you like about Modi Uncle)

He says, “Su bole che Modi kaka!! Hasi hasi ne pet dukhi jaye che. Jo jo ne, Delhi ma pan Modi Kaka aj avse.” (Look at how (Narendra) Modi talks! He makes us laugh so much that our stomach hurts. Watch as he is only going to form the government in Delhi.)

01tamashaAnd I wonder. Is that what this election has become about?

Almost feels like an Indian Idol contest where the most entertaining candidate wins.

Maybe I am just being too critical, but the fanaticism is evident.



I may not get there, but there are a few links I would like to share form my expedition to find my answers. These have helped me form opinions or look for answers.


1. CNN IBN Sagarika Ghosh on Special series “Open Mike” from Sabarmati river front, Ahemedabad.


2. Headlines Today, Rahul Kanwal on “Election Express” from Vadodara the city where BJP PM Candidate Narendra Modi Stands

3. Arvind Kejriwal in an interview “google hangout” with Rajdeep Sardesai.

(Thought i wonder if any other party has the guts to make suche statements. Also, they don’t seem to have any media presence.)


4. The events of the day when Arvind Kejriwal Resigned as CM.

Reading this – from below to top, will sort – of – explain why he resigned.


My interpretation of what Kejriwal is trying to communicate is: BJP and congress unanimously supported the prevalent corruption. And so, while Kejriwal was in the formed government, it was impossible to get across, he stepped out of the “seat” to be heard as a “common man”. As a CM – he could be overruled, as a common man, he could stand his ground. I think the whole mess up makes sense to me now! Check the first video in the post


And then the media did it’s job of calling him “Bhagoda”, a person who runs away; but going by the things I have read now, make me feel otherwise.




5. Have you heard how the parties have been canvassing this time? Somewhere down the line “personal agendas” are mixed with – wining the seat for the party – agenda. And also, “personal attacks” are rampant. The BJP will abuse Congress and the Congress will Retaliate. Then someone will make a joke and some news channel will debate about it. It’s endless.


The Contenders
The Contenders


But amongst all this, we have AAP. Yes, Kejriwal might be making statements about Ambanis and congress and BJP and black money and everything. But have you seen the social media pages? have you seen the content they share? No abuse. They are speaking the right things.

He makes statements like “We will remove people who have a criminal record form our party (if they have hidden facts and joined us) and cancel their tickets”. He makes statements like “We’re willing to grow”,  he makes statements about “Not being corrupt” and being a “common man” and somehow I tilt towards believing they have their heart in the right place. They just made a few mistakes, simply coz they aren’t really politicians (my school of thought!) I know they won’t win this time, but I do hope that a party like that survives and grows through time!


Check all their official pages here:



And finally, a debate – discussion can’t end without mentioning this man.

“if you don’t oppose what’s wrong, you’re actually backing it. “ he says.I can’t remember which Arnab Goswami News Hour it was where he made this statement. Here’s one interview which discusses Togadia.

“Do not divide this nation while you try to justify (BJP) Ms. Negi” he says and makes a point.


And those are my fears.

With the way Rahul Gandhi has failed to talk any sense on the TV interview, “Secular” and “Woman empowerment” have become abused words. He dodged questions, he was stupid, he was unconfident and he was not well prepared. … Is that our fault? Secularism and Security for women are concerns that need to be taken up with greatest reverence.

One of my greatest fears is divide based on religion and moral policing for women.
One of my greatest fears is education, security for underprivileged and social development will take a back seat.

One of my greatest fear is, what are the children of the country going to grow up learning? Extremist views and propaganda? That’s not what I learnt as a kid and I feel so strongly for it, because that’s what my pride was, as a child. The secular and free spirit that my country gave me; I pride it and always will. I hope we never trade that off.


In the words of a friend, a rare kind, non-fanatic BJP supporter said “At least with Narendra Modi up there, and BJP in power, India will be India again. Look at the scams, the corruption, I am tired! At least, they will talk of India as a superpower again, the way they used to a decade ago.”


I want to believe that thought.

So yes, what I am going to say now, is Bring it on! I am ready to see Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Let’s see him bring the development. “How soon he will do it and at what cost, is what we need to see.” said a friend on a facebook status this morning.  “And if things go wrong, we can expect the media and our own energies to be invested in re-defining the government yet again” if the need be, we shall do that too!


And on that note, I am going to leave with just one point:

Please do not divide this society/friendships and people based on opinions and choices they make. Please don’t be fanatic. Please don’t attack someone just because they have a different school of thought. BJP will win. Modi will come to power. Let everyone reap and enjoy the benefits when they happen and let everyone stand together if things go wrong. Let’s just vow – that when we go out and vote – we will pledge not to point fingers and not to divide over differences. Amen.

Satyamev Jayate – A Story Of A Patient From Baroda Hospital

I wrote this post way back in September – almost 9 months back. Never posted it because I didn’t think people would be interested to read, that it would be received properly, that it would be okay for me to speak up…… but today, SatyaMev Jayate has encouraged me to share this story.  A patient from Baroda, and an observer in me; here goes:

 18th September, 2011

 I am an optimist. I may be sad or low or I may just start crying… but I am an optimist at heart.

 When I walk into an office, my first instance is to believe that I am in a noble place. That the people there are sincere. That the work they do is honest. That they wish to do well and do just.

 But something really moved me yesterday.

 It all started last week.

 A friend sent me a text that his mother is in the government hospital, admitted to the ICU because of a high diabetic condition. I decided to pay a visit and offer to help.  I just had the regular “Hey bud! Lemme know if you need anything!” and the “Hey Mate! Don’t worry… all will be fine.” – Dialogues ready in my head.  But when I stepped in there, I just couldn’t leave.

 This was the government hospital of Baroda – the place where people from all over Gujarat come for treatment. There are patients from far of districts and even other states like Rajasthan; who come here with faith to be cured.

My first feeling was optimism.

 We take my friend’s mom to the first ward.  The doctor looks at the swollen foot and says, “Take her to the other department. This is a case of diabetes being severe. Control that first, and then come here.

We rush her to the other ward, and there the authorities tell us “the wound is severed. The swelling is critical. First aid is required. The leg has to be dealt with first, before we look begin with treatment for diabetes.

 My otherwise troublesome friend is rather quiet and I step in, “they have just sent us here. So, it would be really nice if you could confirm where we are to go”. My friend rushes to the other surgical department, to the doctor to bring him to this department so that treatment can begin soon.  The doctor comes, comments “well!! I sent her here because it was your case of diabetes … but if you are not taking her, we will start our procedures. She anyway has to be admitted.”


My instinct is disturbed by the lack of coordination.


But then I watch as the doctors sending us to the ward; the interns scolding my friend for not getting the syringe in time ( ; ) ), the doctors doing the rounds and I helping in the tests – I feel  like appreciating the work.  I feel overwhelmed thinking of how they are working in this set up; treating the underprivileged, giving their whole to so many patients.

 After spending the weekend there, I return home thinking- yes! The system may be flawed, but it still isn’t all shallow and hollow. There are people working for humanity. There are people doing their job really well. There are people who are passionate and care. I felt good about the treatment meted to my friend’s mother.

 However, my happiness was soon to be tainted.

 The following day, I was discussing the case with a colleague. I had previously done some social work in terms of copy writing, for his Grandfather’s trust. He brought to my notice that since the trust operated close to the Hospital, and since my friend’s mom was in the same hospital, I should refer the case to them at least once before the surgery that was scheduled in the afternoon.

 Well! It made sense. No harm in getting one more perspective on the case. I reached the hospital with agenda but to be greeted by my friend, in tone of happiness. “Apsara!! All is fine now! Mom is being discharged.”

 I am pleasantly surprised and credit all the ‘good news’ to the positive colors that I am wearing : )

 We walk down to pay the bills. On the way, I look at the trust office and suggest having a word them. Since everything was good now, we could just tell the people at the trust that all is fine. My colleague has after all, taken the trouble to connect us.

  However, from that point onwards, everything changed.

 The NGO people meet us with great warmth and positivity and my colleague’s grandfather volunteers with all the energy to look into the subject and to meet the doctors with us. He comes with us.

 He says, “Oh! Let’s meet the doctors if your mother is being discharged.

He walks straight in and asks about details.

 Apparently, the diabetic department that had given us “discharge on request” (despite us never making any such request) and the authority explains that they had to do this because they could not treat my friend’s mother for the ailment. It was the job of another department.

 The intern explains, “The lady was brought in a critical condition. We presumed that the swelling was because of a tissue infection. And the infection would have affected the bone. But; the swelling in the tissues occurred only in 2 – 3 days; which means that the bone could not have been infected by the tissue infection. For a bone to be infected, the condition has to be longer; for instance, in terms of months. So the fact is that the bone was initially infected and this infection spread to the tissues. Our department doesn’t deal with bone problems. The bone infection has to be cured by the orthopedic department and it must because that’s what has transferred contagion to the tissues.”

 So if there is a bone infection, why was she being discharged with a mere mention that there has to be regular dressing of the foot?

 And the answer is: THAT is not our work.

 The doctor explains, “The orthopedic department was not taking her. What can we do about it? So, our work is to deal with tissues. If they don’t admit her for a bone treatment, we have no option but to send her home and that’s what we were doing.

 My colleague’s grandfather, looks at us and says, “Don’t discharge her today. Stay a day. We’ll look into it and talk to the highest authorities.

 He takes us straight to the senior doctors and explains the case.

 Within 10 minutes, we are back in a ward and the 4 doctors are here to see her.

(The reason is the NGO. The NGO is renowned for its good work. So, when they are associated with a case, they manage to get answers.)

 The doctor inspects the foot, confirms that my friend’s mother has to be shifted to the orthopedic department and the procedures begin in few minutes.

 I just stand there spell bound.

 I help in the processes and running about. I help in the shifting.

But deep within, I am terribly disturbed.

 Today, we were on the verge of committing a big mistake. We were taking my friend’s mom home with an almost fatal infection. We were going to quietly bring her for a dressing the foot – every day for perhaps a month- so that her open wound could heal (the incision that was made to inspect and clear the region with the swelling. And for records, the swelling has only partially subsided, and the foot looks far from normal).

 We were going to go home smiling, thinking that she was being discharged because thing were fine. Not knowing, that it was because there was no one to check and sign her papers.


 I had wondered last week, why I was there…. At the hospital… when I should actually be studying or working or doing something of personal importance… and yesterday I realized WHY.

It was so that I could open my eyes and see the world, not through tainted glasses.

 We, the educated, were going to fall prey to negligence, then what would be the case of the under privileged? The poor? The uneducated?

 I still feel, the doctors are doing a great job out there. Working hard day in and day out. Treating patients and healing them. But what disturbs me is the thin line between “work” and responsibility.

 There were professional’s out there, who were willing to let a patient suffer because it wasn’t a matter of their department.  Knowing well, that the condition could worsen, that it could lead to a critical amputation or extreme condition of the infection spreading in the entire body…. Knowing… that….. Sending this patient home is not the right thing to do…. They knew it…. But they were still about to go through with it.

 I never really wanted to be a doctor. And now I think, with the idealist that I am, I’d have suffered more if seniors around me were dealing with patients like this.The hope, however, lies in the hands of the young minds that are sincere and the experienced professionals from the field who are role models.

 I can understand the Munna Bhai MBBS dialogue, “Ek doctor ke liye ek mariz ek bimar sharer hai. Bus.” But… at the end of the day, that ill body is a human being.

I can understand them being un-moved by illnesses, by ailments, by these critical conditions. What I cannot understand is how they can be indifferent.

 I cannot understand how we can go to bed knowing that somebody is suffering before our eyes, and that we could do what was required to treat them.  This diabetic department/ surgical department may not be responsible for the procedure of curing……. But they could bring forth the case to the ortho-department.  

 The patient’s relatives on the other hand, suffer not just trauma but also confusion. They have to file papers, transfer papers, sign documents, get medicines, shift the patient themselves form one ward to the other and above all, remaining in the dark about what exactly is happening.  


The first thought that came to my mind was that, I am an Indian.

I have lived in this India.

I have walked the dirty streets, I have worked in dingy buildings and I have seen the sarkari daftar (slow working offices). I am still tolerant when it comes to postal, police and railway procedures … but this is a HOSPITAL. And this is a matter of life and death.  We just cannot be tolerant here.

 If you have managed to read this article and reach till this point, then here are two things:

  1. Pray for my friend’s mom : ) She’s still needs are good wishes and still needs to be treated for the bone condition
  2. Don’t be *starry* eyed and believe everything around you. Ask questions, be alert and HELP where you can. Perhaps you could help someone in pain and in need. It needs only an educated mind.        Please share this post.

 For now, I am too un-rich to be able to help this NGO in spreading the light, but when I can, I shall.  Until then, I am going to make posts like this, volunteer with time and spread the word.

 You can do the same and perhaps help someone in need.

 I guess the positive colors did work after all 😉 we met the Hari Om Seva Trust. And God bless them for the wonderful social service they are doing.


As Of Today: 26th May 2012

The Trust [Link to their Facebook Pagesharing the name and link on request]still operates in Baroda helping thousands of under privileged patients with subsidized health care medications and the correct information about their ailments.They host camps, educate and do a lot of voluntary service and have been recognized internationally.

My friend’s mom – finally underwent an amputation. The amputation was needed to avoid the infection from spreading. She walks with a Jaipur/false foot now and is fine.

 As for me, I am still *starry eyed*, yet wiser; have many questions [While at it, you can Like the blog page here: Half A Cup Of Tea. Please do!] I am still moved by instances and this is but, one story. If there’s anything you need me to help with, please feel free to get in touch.

 Inspired by cause addressed by Staya Mev Jayte – even if the series is making a lot of money, targeted for TRP, it’s still getting us to talk about subjects. Their success is justified, in the same way, as I bring out this post and justify sharing something like this without facing the wrath of society and “higher authorities”.

 Satya Mev Jayate – it’s the truth after all, why fear?


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