April 24 was a big day for many youngsters in Chennai who were waiting anxiously to exercise their voting right for the first time.

Several of them thronged polling stations across the city as early as 8 a.m. to cast their vote. Social media was abuzz with a large number of youngsters posting messages on their experiences and uploading selfies of their inked fingers.

Ashok Ramanathan (21) of Pammal said, “I have always dreamt of voting whenever parents described their experience. I was very disappointed when I missed voting during the last assembly elections,” he said.

While it turned out to be thrilling for many, some of them had to tackle initial confusion. Susan Stephens, a college student, had rehearsed the voting process several times in her mind and did not mind the queue.

“I kept asking my dad about how we will vote. But, when I went into the polling booth at Teynampet, I was puzzled for a while trying to figure out the symbols and the candidates’ names,” she said.

Many like Susan were excited to flaunt their fingers with indelible ink. Srinivasan Venkataraman (19) went to the polling station at T. Nagar as early as 7.15 a.m. to exercise his voting right. “It was thrilling to press the button. I felt I did something worthwhile as a citizen by casting my vote,” he said.

While twin sisters V. Ranjini and V. Ramya of Mylapore took an independent decision on the candidates to vote for, without consulting even parents, some youngsters like J. Venkat of West Mambalam had long discussions with friends on the right candidates.

(With inputs from K. Manikandan)

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