I’ve lived my entire life in the Garden City. I’ve watched it grow beyond its girth, seen it become a melting pot of cultures by an influx of people from other states, marveled at the IT boom and witnessed the slow and painful death of date night, dancing and a sense of security.
Ten years ago I could walk down almost any street in my city and feel safe. I could wear a pair of shorts and not be uncomfortable. I could do a late night coffee date. Five years ago, I could hit a club with my friend and go dancing. I could watch a live music performance and I could throw a house party that went on interrupted till 3.00 am. That was 2008, the year Bangalore started making national headlines and being the butt of many jokes for the enactment of some archaic law and the ban on dancing.
It might seem superficial that I complain about the death of my social life, but it’s so much more. As a working woman, I pay my taxes and I’ve never broken the law barring the odd parking ticket. Why then should I be afraid to drive home late at night or encounter the cops? Why should the state government get to decide that I can’t go out anywhere past 11.00pm, because the city shuts down and why do I have to put up with these senseless rules and laws about ‘no dancing’ or ‘no music past 10.00pm’?
I’ll tell you why… It’s because I didn’t and have never voted. I didn’t exercise my fundamental right to vote for the party in power in my state, so now I don’t get the right to complain. I thought ‘what difference will it make if I vote? Like one or a few votes by city girls like me is going to make a difference?’. Maybe it won’t, but what if every Bangalore girl showed up at the polling booths at the next election? We may not be enough to topple a government, but collectively we will be enough to get noticed… and that’s a start.
Yes, there are larger more meaningful issues that this city, state and country has to grapple with, but the simple truth is every one of us, as an individual, votes for the person or party that best promised to fix the problem most painful to us. It could be taxes, infrastructure, educational reform or agricultural benefits, to us Bangalore girls, its wanting to feel safe and to be able to have a late night dinner again.
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