Lost in documentation

I become utterly religious whenever I plan to visit any government office. I would unceremoniously take a morning bath in freezing winter, pray for long hours, take blessings from everybody before I prepare myself. The ID proof, photo ID, the address proof, the passport sized photos, umpteens of copies, the notarized papers, the affidavits, the tax statements, the bank statements….huff! 

I almost planned to live in a rented apartment for life, to save myself from agonies of bank loan paperwork. But, every doc has his day, and so did I. The suave doctor would be stripped till underpants to prove he deserves a loan. Well, stripping would have been much easier, this was worse! 

While the private bank fellows would have been easier to handle, there would always be one nasty guy in family who would convince you they are cheats. So, I was pushed to the ultra-slow paced ‘sarkari’ bank. The wobbling ceiling fan making screeching sound; the fluttering bank papers, and the dusty files; all bespectacled fellows straining themselves on computer screen, and wondering why ‘E’ follows ‘W’ on keyboard. I navigated myself to a disinterested sweating fellow hidden behind fortified walls of piles of files, and a paraphernalia-studded desk. For the sake of anonymity, let’s say his name was ‘pandeyjee’. 

And began a gruelling Q&A session;

Not to mention, my wishes and handshake were unanswered.

Q: Form, photo, ID, Documents?

A: Here it is sir!

Q: Any other address proof? Rental agreement not valid.

A: Aadhaar card sir!

Q. Not valid now. BJP govt you know.

A. Passport has old address sir

Q. Your passport first name is ‘Kumar’, but on Aadhaar, its ‘Praveen’?

A. They called me ‘Kumar’ in US and I am ‘Praveen’ in India.

Q. Ok. Give an affidavit of name change and one of address change. Your wive’s surname is ‘Singh’?

A. Yes. She is from Delhi. You read my blog Dilli-waali girlfriend  sir.

Q. Ok. Give an affidavit about that. But, your blog is Vamagandhi.

A. Yes, I am a Gandhi follower sir. Great to see him on your wall too.

Q. Huh! That’s everywhere. Bloody Congressis. Anyway, give an affidavit. 

A. About bloody congressi?

Q. No. Leave it! You scored 100 in mathematics, and you are a doctor. Isn’t it fishy? Doctors are poor in maths.

A. In that case, for records, there is one who is good sir. Never thought that way.

Q. Your tax papers are doctored? No doctor pays such tax.

A. I began paying since I joined Anna movement sir.

Q. K. But, now Anna is nowhere, and his protege are big cheaters. Your voter ID is of Bihar?

A. Yes, I belong to this village sir.

Q. Huh! You voted for Lalu?

A. No. I was in Bangalore sir. I am Brahmin by the way, if it helps.

Q. Yes. It would. I will make sure your loan gets cleared. I am Brahmin too. Ha ha! Why did you marry that ‘Singh’ girl?

A. She is from royal family sir.

Q. Smart guy! That’s where the money comes from. Who can afford flat in Bangalore otherwise?

A. No dowry sir.

Q. Stupid you! Two daughters hmm. But, you said, you are a radiologist?

A. Yes sir. It was me who did ultrasounds.

Q. Could have kept only one daughter. Anyway, your choice. Come back with all affidavits tomorrow. Will see.

A. I wouldn’t. You seem to me a big asshole sir!
Note: Biases are one of the many criterias of being asshole. This piece is a part-fictional satire based on biases in humans, and govt office spoof is not intended to denigrate the system. Author apologize if it creates any such bias for private sector.

16 thoughts on “Lost in documentation

    1. Well. This was part-fictional satire I wrote to focus on caste-bias, gender inequality, and political biases crept in organisations. Somehow, it got diluted with bureaucracy, and I see everybody commenting on documentation maladies. That’s where a story-teller fails and interpreter wins.

      Yes. I truly didn’t have one ID to justify my all credentials till recently, and had to run pillar-to-post to get all consolidated and clear.

      Thanks.

      1. There is no win/lose unless we attach ourselves to certain objectives. I feel audience might be biased because they try to find their own meaning. I feel the most I am pained by organizations is–by formalities. Other biases are present inside as well as outside organizations alike but office-office is most about red-tape and affidavits. You have done a great job and you should feel content. 🙂

  1. hahaha.. sarkari office stories, refreshed some of my memories to my regional passport office in UP to get a PCC ,they made my life hell to get one document. I had to go there 3-4 times from Gurgaon to Bareilly ,one time to submit , then wait for a month, go back and check why no update, they told me they didn’t receive police verification report, went to police they said they have sent it to office, went back again as an angry young lady needless to mention all those questions about names not matching or spelling mistakes just to know that uncle checking the computer doesnt really know to use that software application, he was always checking wrong field, I made quite a hue n cry and I was lucky to be crossed by Officer in Charge who looks like an educated man, He asked me to come with him, He checked on same software but with right options and found my file..it was a lucky day but all that nasty fight is still a nightmare ..

  2. I laughed when I read it, but with a rather hollow laugh. Yes, I have spent time in government offices, banks, railway stations, etc, etc in India. I can’t get caste sympathy, I have to talk about cricket!

    1. Cricket used to be a great binding factor and ‘what’s the score?’- a proven ice-breaker in govt offices till recently. Somehow, I failed in that too. In Gavaskar-era, I kept praising Kapil and Gavaskar to a govt official, and he turned out an odd Vengsarkar fan.

  3. An awesome read. I loved your punches!

    I hate going to Public Sector firms.
    The story started with SBI in Bangalore in 2004. I applied for an account with them and waited 2 months for my check book. I closed the account in frustration and never went to any Public Sector bank thereafter.
    All my account are with Private Sector now, and it is so easy dealing with them (at least comparatively)!

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