The Beau­ti­ful Ms Sharma

Vidya­vati Sharma

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

The cor­ri­dors of the Chaud­hury Ch­hat­u­ram Ma­havi­dalay are alive with the sound of EVMs. Like­some­mytho­log­i­cal bird, they fill up the polling booths one by one with their chirps. Out­side sits RK Singh and Far­mana Sid­diqi, in uni­form, do­ing their spe­cial po­lice duty bear­ing their light-sabrelook­ing ba­tons with a friendly touch. Singh has been de­puted from far­away Sul­tan­pur, some 70 0 k ms away from Muzaf­far­na­gar. “It’s been very peace­ful. It’s very nice,” says Singh, who was also here dur­ing the less-than-tran­quil 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions that took place in the wake of the 2013 com­mu­nal ri­ots in Muzaf­far­na­gar. Sid­diqi, her hair smartly tied up in a tight bun, even smiles. She is from Bagh­pat, some two hours away. Both of them look, well, happy sit­ting un­der the crisp win­ter sun look­ing across a start­ingly clean, salmon pinkwalled school com­pound. Also bear­ing a smile, sit­ting in­side an auto and look­ing into the dis­tance, as if dis­tance was not space but t i me, is the b e g u ml i ke 9 5 -yea r - old Vidya­vati Sharma. Her r e g a l , b o ny face is l i ned with decades of pol l booth vis­its – “for the last 50 years” she t el l s me with that smile t hat spre ads out f rom i nside the auto. I tell her that, yes, I am a lit­tle older than her. W h i c h may have come across as, yes, I am a l it t l e older for her, since she turns her smile into a full-throated laugh. Her son Amar Sharma ap­pears, brother Ji­ten­dra and fam­i­lies in tow. “She’s been up since early morn­ing wait­ing to go out and vote – ha­rangu­ing all of us to leave as soon as the daily fam­ily puja got over,” he says with a laugh. As they all en­ter – mother, sons, daugh­ters-in-law and their kids – and then put­ter away out of the school com­pound, I have only one thought: Vidya­vati of Muzaf­far­na­gar was once a very beau­ti­ful younger wo­man.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.