Monday, May 16, 2016

A Missed Chance

Today, I am filled with shame and anger at myself. For having missed a chance to do my bit as a citizen of the country. I have lost my chance to vote, thereby losing my chance to sit and complain or even expect anything from the State.

For reasons best known only to the hubby and me, we have never lived in the same residence or locality for more than two years at a stretch. The thought of getting documents updated every time was daunting. It is my fault that I shuddered at the countless pillars and posts I had to run to and from. It is my fault that I wasn’t bold enough to face the indifference of the officers in the civil supplies office, the passport office, the transport office,  who I knew by several bitter experiences didn’t  care if I’d taken a day off from work or if I’d even resigned my job to effect a change of address in my records.
I say, fear. You could call it laziness or even indifference.
It was my fault that I didn’t keep myself well-informed about procedures. What does one do if one doesn’t have any of the ‘accepted’ address proofs? My bank in which I have a salary account did not insist on an address proof. Suited me fine, because I didn’t have one. Gas receipts suddenly found their way out of the accepted list of address proofs. And so I lost the only proof of my existence that I was flaunting everywhere. A passport is a valid address proof. But how can I change the address in there? Show them the ration card but that has the old address too. Get it updated. Show them the address proof. What proof? Rental agreement. Telephone bill. Sorry boss, not on my name. Ever heard of vicious cycles? So I sulk my way back to my state of non-existence, wondering how if me, a working, independent woman has so much problem in proving her place of residence, then how would the average stay-at-home wife prove her place of residence. Heaven forbid if any of these two women dared to break free from their marital homes. The never-ending bureaucratic queue sounds more frightful than social stigma!
March 2016. Having lived incognito for more than 4 years, I realised I must do something about it. Assembly elections were looming large. I was more anxious than the contestants themselves. I wanted to vote. Even my 8-yr old daughter had an Aadhar Card (issued by school) but I didn’t have one. I was on annual leave. Unable to bear my whining and whimpering anymore, the spouse took me to a place where the Aadhar Card registration was being done. We went armed with rental agreement, telephone bill and the by-now famous gas receipts. I was even ready to argue that I was indeed the lawfully wedded wife of the address-proof holder. To our surprise, there was no queue. The process was a breeze. It only took as much time for me to blink in the photograph. The process was done. Guess what, they didn’t ask us for the address proof. I was thrilled. I knew I could finally apply for a Voter ID and actually vote. “Optimistic Ignoramus!” sniggered the Universe.
April 10. I get the online Aadhar Card but not the physical card. I tried to apply for the Voter ID with it. But don’t we love anti-climaxes? What does the online Voter ID form ask me for? Yes, my address proof! April 20. The online registration for Voter ID closes.
May 13. Hurrah! My Aadhar Card arrives by post finally. Too late my dear!
May 16. The day of the Elections.  My participation in the democratic process— a few speeches to my dad, envious laments to the spouse showing off his black mark, silently nursing the loss of a photo op (rather a selfie-op) and a huge rant on this blog page. Sigh!
And I know I can’t find a hair-breadth’s fault with the new government because I haven’t participated. I guess I have to chuck my conscience and pair up with my bretheren, who in spite of holding every valid card/proof, decided to go away for the long election weekend to posh destinations. Together, we will blame the new government for bad roads, rising prices, pollution, water problem, garbage, too much rains, too little rains, Aniruddh’s bad music, Kohli’s break-up...An exciting five years ahead!  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Enough Said

One of those rare evenings, rather nights when I sat down to watch a film on TV and I am glad I did.
'Enough Said', is a sweet story about two divorced people looking at the deeper meaning of relationships. Their warmth, their sense of humour and their empty nest is not the only common link between them. Eva's new friend is Albert's ex-wife.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I remembered her from the TV show Seinfeld. She is brilliant here. She plays Eva, a masseuse who does home visits. Watch out for the way she handles her portable massage table through the film. The ease and difficulty with which she lugs it around varies with her level of confidence at a given point. Something one can relate to easily.

And James Gandolfini, never heard of him before and what can I say, I am in love! He plays Albert, this chubby, charming, honest, funny, very huggable person with his own quirks. He is as sensitive as he is funny. I wonder, if he was acting or playing himself.

Wikipedia tells me he died soon after the film was made. I welled up for a moment when I read that.

My favorite part of the film? Eva and Albert's first date. For a couple to laugh so much on a first date. (Sigh!) Then, their conversation on the lawn when she first visits his home. And of course the last scene on the porch.

I don't know if it is the actors, the direction or the screenplay that makes you feel for every scene and every character in the film. Marianne is as true to life as if Eva is. Neither of them is wrong. Each person has his or her own needs. And as one ages the priorities keep changing. Isn't this true for all us? What would have mattered so much at a point suddenly becomes inconsequential, making you wonder what the whole fuss was about. However, very often, we don't respect our decisions in life. A lot of us end up looking for external validation to pursue what our own heart desires. We risk a lot in a bargain for that validation.

That way, this is truly a grown-up film. Try and watch it if you can.