"I went there to promote a party in an election campaign but I met with India. I went there to answer the questions of potential voters but I got more questions in return. Yes, questions not from the voters but from colonies, poverty and ways of lives."
"I am walking towards the exit escalators of gate no.7 from Rajiv Chowk Metro Station wearing white Gandhian Cap. My cap is printed with Party Symbol and punch line. It isn’t only me dressed like one but yes it’s unusual. The cap is obvious attention for everyone around. If anyone happened to have an eye-contact we exchanged smiles. Those smiles had millions of messages but I spared to interpret them. As I stepped on the escalator someone pated on my back, I turned to find an aged man presumably a Delhi Metro employee approached me while walking by my side.
“You don’t worry! This time it’s going to be our government.” He is more than confident for his statement.
“How come, you’re so sure about it sir?” I want to find the reasoning behind his confidence.
“Alas we government employees can’t come open to support you people but here I want to tell you something” he came closer to gain the feel secrecy of talk.
Escalator is rising up. He is old and wants to slant his weight a little on me, he came further closer. Like any film director his hands are acting for what his lips are narrating “The moment you will rise up to exit seven, you will see massive (white-caps) flood of people singing your favourite song.” His eyes filled with happiness glittering.
“What song? How’re you sure about it? And how you….” Before I could finish my question, we were out to Palika Bazar gate.
Truth be told, I was uneasy while wearing the white cap but not anymore. I saw massive crowd all in white caps. Thousands of thousands people from around the country arrived to Delhi for campaigning for AAP. Holding placards reading free Wi-Fi, Half Electric Bills and Free Clean Water. It was an actualization to see likeminded people. We had an undecided common code, all of us, if get to have an eye contact we used to nod with smile. Greetings, introducing, noting contact details we all were en-tuned to our favourite song of the season “Jab hoga paanch saal Kejriwal, Kejriwal!”
It was great to be no one in the streets of Delhi. Gandhian Cap with Black Eye frame, I was not an iota close to look like an Author, Trainer or Teacher. I was just a common man having no trail of identity. The burden of being someone was offloaded way back to the city I belong. This City is different! Gardens, row houses, shops, cars and more cars that is it, no one is in hurry, no one is late. People are everywhere but no one cared a dam that we are roaming around. Very little argument, mostly a gentle nod or a smile, few people encouraged us. They asked our whereabouts and felt happy for the courage we exhibit. When we asked for water, they sometime offered us tea or sweets or a Samosa. Sometimes they refused gently or roughly though we never bothered. A lot of people questioned our morality of quitting job and doing worthless job in Delhi. They advised us, “Youngsters should earn money for their families, politics can wait”. I only nodded for the precious advises did not make any argument whatsoever. I was there to listen not to tell. It was there their state not mine. I was only there to help them speak.
I not only went to plush green gardens or bungalows, I went to barely walk able passages in dense settlements, having huts over huts like crazy. In these unorganized colonies where factories and residences are cuddled over small-small pieces of lands, it was heart wrenching to see children working like prisoners. They just looked at us for a blink or two. Never smiled or cared to hear what we were saying. Fair cheeks were greased and tired. It’s gravely painful to see wrinkles in the faces of fourteen year old child-labours. They all were working like professionals, like they come daily on time for the monthly salary like any government employee does. Those passages are muddy and filthy. Sound of machines, crinkling iron cutters and moulders will turn you deaf but those who live up there were easy. None of those colonies have drainages, there are few public toilets but you just can’t go in. It is unthinkable that I was in Delhi.
I went there to promote a party in an election campaign but I met with India. I went there to answer the questions of potential voters but I got more questions in return. Yes, questions not from the voters but from colonies, poverty and way of lives. Questions like “Why the people are so helpless?”, “How can we explain so much in so less time?” “Why rich people don’t care?”, “Why there are people not even a bit aware about world?” “Why there are millions of interpretations for one sentence?” If I happened to go anywhere close to answer, I got this. Majority of the people that I met have never been (or very rarely) outside the locality they lived since they born. They made fun of us. They taunted us. They laughed on our stupidity of coming hundreds of miles away leaving our families and jobs behind but they never heeded on naked questions. Why are they living the way they are living? They never asked why such misery and injustice exists. No wonder they exists.
At Wazirpur Industrial Area I participated an in-house meeting of women labours. I was with many others along with the AAP Contesting member Mr. Rajesj Gupta. In a minute there were hundreds of women all around, asking questions. Hard questions, really scary questions! A blind woman asked “Can you manage to fetch pension of my widowed daughter in-law from that goon who is getting it all in her name?” She started crying, was barely able to speaking but wailing in pain “I am old and die soon but my daughter-in-law is young widowed and has a baby in her lap! How will she manage? Please save her!” It was the moment of silence when another moment escorted her away to console her. No one spoke for that very minute. A woman told, “Ruling party has goons in the colony who snatches all such funds and allowances that come for them” They all cried for the change in unison.
For that moment I thought that becoming a politician is the most sacred job of the days I am living in. I stopped campaigning for that night. I didn’t return to the Dharamshala we stayed to. I kept on walking on streets, like a layman. Like an unknown idiot having no vision or objective just to walk by from this place to that, from one moment to another. I couldn’t think of anything, I couldn’t plan. I was numb as I was introduced to lives. Many lives at once, from the villas to quarters to huts, from offices to shops to factories, from men women and eunuchs, from children, youths and olds. I was getting familiar with people, injustice and poverty. A week in Delhi to support AAP was very beautiful time that I spent with people I couldn’t know otherwise. A week away from EMIs, Credit Cards and Job, I felt like human, I breathed only for me.