Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mystery of the lost Tatkal counter

Remember the article I wrote about India titled “The land where I lead a happy life”?
I am sorry I wrote it before I made a trip to the Regional Passport office. What a tour it turned out to be of the grand Indian Heritage of apathy and unresponsiveness. The one-day tour began right at the gate with the parking attendant refusing to tell me where I might park my car. But each time I found a space he would come running behind to say that it was not permissible to leave my car there. And this he would do only after watching me finish the complete procedure of parking, gathering my 59-odd things, stepping out and locking the door.
“You couldn’t tell me earlier, eh?” I snapped each time to no avail. After five demonstrations of my talent in line and parallel parking, the man relented and showed me a dune of sand and asked me to “adjust” my car there. The tyres whirred angrily in the same place before managing to climb the dune and come to a stop. Hurrah to Jaya Madhavan for finding a third way of parking called the Pythagorean parking where my car was inclined like a hypotenuse over the triangle of sand.
“Rs 30”, the attendant said handing me ticket for ‘Rs 20 only’.
“Rs10 for my tea,” he clarified evenly. One look at my poor car and I walked away without even answering.
Inside when I asked for the Tatkal counter, I was shown a queue longer than the tail of serpent Adi-Seshan. I stood there for an eternity only to be passed like a buck to the next counter. It was pure déja vu when the next officer also moved me like an unclaimed parcel to another counter. After experiencing all lengths of tails from serpent Vasuki’s to Hanuman’s to Kapish of Tinkle fame, I was finally told to “ask in the enquiry”.
“Of course,” I thought and asked in the enquiry (the longest tail yet) only to be
directed back to the very first counter I had stood in. Aaarghhhh! That day, I actually felt the indignant Tambrahm’s “I will write to the ‘letters to the editor’ ” kind of anger.
“As a senior citizen I demand to know who is responsible for the Tatkal counter. Enna ya, should one file an FIR to find out?” someone was yelling at a policeman.
“Next year I am also a senior citizen. In the year 1976, when I was transferred….” The policeman began his history and the senior citizen’s wife burst into cackles. Her husband had probably met his match.
The ‘Mystery of the missing Tatkal counter’ had to be solved before 1 pm failing which I would have to apply for a date again. Like me there were many Nancy Drews trying to solve the same mystery. But it was a tout who finally revealed the top secret to me for Rs100. Next, I found there was some declaration form to be signed by my husband. The tout helpfully pointed out the form to me for another Rs 50 (and it was right there).
“Oh! Now I have to go to my husband’s office to get his signature,” I fretted.
“What Madam, you don’t even know to put saar’s signature? He mocked.
More than the drive I was anguished about losing the hypotenuse parking space.
By the time I got everything in place and joined the correct queue and left the building at 6 pm (job miraculously done), I had revisited my love for my country couple of times.
Tired and irritated, I backed my car and crashed into a pile of bricks, scattering it.
“Who is responsible for this?” the parking attendant came running and shouting.
“Ha! Ask in the enquiry,” I answered and sped off.

1 comment:

  1. I am surprised what makes u go manually get such bitter experiecnce. Internet has option to do tatkal