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Where’s the party?

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 17:46 IST
Arif Zakaria
Arif Zakaria
Hindustan Times
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Geeta Khanna, who occupies floors six to 10 in my building, is a true-blue socialite. She possesses all the virtues of high society folks — money, chiffons, bone china, implants, designer couture and a caustic tongue.

I can safely say she was born for the glossies. Having watched Slumdog Millionaire on a first class flight, she now feels for the city and is disturbed by its crumbling infrastructure and disinterested politicians.

So one sultry evening, while enjoying her strawberries and fat-free cream, she got a flash.. an epiphany.. to bring in a change, by participating in the social fad of the season- casting a vote — a feat she has never performed. When I bumped into her recently, she had a few queries on voting day:

Question hour
GK: Does the special invite arrive with a bottle of chardonnay and chocolates?
Me: Ma’am, no invites are sent for voting day. It’s an open day for all citizens to exercise their right.
GK: But I still have to prepare, considering it’s an eight to five gig.
Me: Ma’am, its 8 am to 5 pm. It’s a day gig! Please remember, it’s not a night-time event.
GK: Oh, dear, really, and this new venue, ‘polling station’, sounds very retro!
Me: Polling station is a place — either a school or a government building, where people go to cast their votes. It’s not a nightclub or bistro.
GK: Government building? Eeeks! How tacky! I hope there’s air- conditioning, and they serve daiquiris. You see, I’m not used to being in Mumbai in summer.
Me: There’s an earthen matka for water!

GK: How cool and ethnic is that! By the way what’s the dress code for voting day?
Me: Wear anything. The important thing is to participate in the process.
GK: I’ll just slip on my Armani floral dress with my Manolos and my burgundy Prada bag. I can’t wait to spray my DKNY Summer, which no one’s yet whiffed in Mumbai. So much of air kissing, I better smell divine, dahling!
Me: Ma’am, no air kissing, please. These are government Class Four employees who man the polling station. You might give them a culture seizure!
GK: I hope they have a good DJ, it’s a while since I went dancing.
Me: There’s no music. All polling stations are silent zones.

GK: Shucks! Sounds like a dry, dull event. Everyone tells me to vote for a party, but where is the ‘party’?
Me: Ma’am, voting is a process involving
an electronic machine on which are embossed different symbols like lotus, hand, sickle, telephone.. with the candidate’s name. You press a button on any one symbol and your vote is registered.

GK: Isn’t there a fashion show during which the candidates walk the ramp?
Me: Not really, and you get a small ink dot on your index finger which is proof that you’ve voted.
GK: Oh, that calls for a special manicure!
Me: So you see, it’s a simple process. In fact, you will spend more time giving sound bytes outside than inside the polling station.
GK: You’ve scared me! I think I need a makeover for voting day. Perhaps ask Donatella Versace to design a special dress, order a plain pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.. and where did you say was the after-party?