Thanks to Chetan Bhagat - Part 2 of ' let's talk about S***'
Ever since i wrote about S**, my blog readership has moved into a new orbit, shot through the roof even. i now get several hundreds of hits, if not thousands, evryday. Please refer to part 1 first to understand the LIR ..
I was at a government office ( un- namable for obvious reasons though) , the kind where you make innumerable trips to get that one precious document that confirms you are who you say you are , or that you live where you live , or whatever, with the govt chappa attached.
I was at my 4th trip to the place. With the new process in place, everything has become even better as you have to submit all the information online, just to repeat it all again in person when you go there. And each time you visit, like in a typical traditional wedding ceremony, a new requirement comes up from the sarkari pandits.
So , having fulfilled many of such requirements, being almost at the end of my tether ( You can never be at the end really otherwise you cannot get the blasted documents at all) , I was faced with a rather stern looking official (sarkari pandit) , manning the counter, who asked for a new affidavit, properly notarized ,again. Having completed 3 of those affidavits, none of those being part of the long checklist, i was , to put it mildly, exasperated . With some gumption and lots of irritation , i asked , with my most irritated demeanor ' Why this now?" . and the guy, with a very patronizing look, and a definitive tone, answered " THIS is our process".
And to my retort ."Mr Panditji, if this is the process, did it spring overnight?" " No , its always been this way". Perhaps it has , but , it has only been brought to light now, as if this were a journey through a tunnel, taking unexpected twists and turns each time until light finally dawns.
So , even while I was protesting at the unfairness of it all, I saw the couple next to me , pleading with the guy, as they had brought all the certificates for their daughter's documents barring the precious marriage certificate. Again that was not part of the online or offline checklist. apparently the checklist cannot include all checks, as claimed by the official . ( You have to visit these offices to appreciate how well these officials can volley multiple queries at the same time , hopefully, without getting confused as to who needs what).
For a moment I was distracted ,as their pain seemed to be more than mine. Their original marriage certificate was in in Hyderabad ( wouldn't be surprised if it was in a safe deposit locker as it was that precious )and they had traveled to Bangalore with only a photocopy, which was not acceptable as all documents had to be submitted , claimed the official, in triplicate and with originals.
KThey begged and pleaded to allow them to furnish the originals before they collected the valuable document, which was anyway going to take 2 months to process. Every plea was falling on deaf ears like water on a duck's back, and again for a moment, as a good samaritan , I was strongly tempted to rush to their defense ans ask this Sarkari pandit " Why do the child's papers need to include the parents marriage certificate ? Is marriage necessary to have the child ?Can the child not exist if the parents were not married ?" and So on, asking what i thought were very deep and pertinent questions ..
But then . Had i asked, this would certainly have jeopardized my own situation as well as got me no thanks from the hapless parents themselves. Better sense having prevailed, I kept mum then , only to carry the puzzle around in my head for a while...
I rushed off to get my own affidavit ,from the dear notary public. But that got me thinking all right .. and finally, got around to writing about it now.
So, dear Sarkari pandits and other pandits, please read part 1 of the " lets talk about S*** " and let me know what you think now.. Is that blasted marriage certificate the be all and end all of all existence?
Aina Rao The amblingindian.
Pandit - a priest. also an official in this context Sarkari- government Chappa - an official stamp.