Thursday, May 17, 2007

The 'Karyalaya' - Contd.

A visit to an Indian Government Office - Day 3

Two working days had been wasted completely for the sake of a simple signature. As usual, I arrived early and the respective officers arrived way after the scheduled time. Yesterday's frustration kept me determined to obtain the signature today at all costs. I asked the clerk to inform me about the Inspector's arrival. He gave me the usual 'He'll be busy' dialog which I completely ignored.

Thankfully the Inspector arrived early, this time in his khaki uniform because of which I spotted him without any worry. The bloke was a tall man with a lot of mass around the equator. Almost every sausage sized finger of his had the trademark signet rings encrusted with colourful stones. Hair greased with oil and combed back completely. Thankfully he was quite fluent in English(which i will later figure out), unlike many of his colleagues, but Marathi was his preferred language of communication

I didn't wait for a chance to be called for, I directly approached him saying that I needed his signature urgently and that I've been waiting five days for it. He was rather calm and didn't find my approach disrespectful. He called me to his office and wrote a chit and handed it over to me and asked me to forward it to his secretary. He told me that she would verify the documents (I only had one sheet of paper)and he would sign it accordingly later that day. I froze thinking about the possibility of waiting another day. Unfortunately this eventually came true. He asked me to leave the paper with his secretary and return to collect it tomorrow.

I didn't know what to say. I quietly accepted the chit and left his office. handed over the chit and the document with his secretary and returned home, saddened by the fact that I had to return another day, but slightly glad that at least he promised me he would surely sign it. Hope he keeps his word.

Day 4

I arrived this morning with high hopes. Thankfully for me the man actually had signed it and the official seal was put too. I quickly returned home contented.


This was one horrendous experience for me. Its actually a bad reflection of the way work gets done even in a progressing nation like India. Lack of computers and other amenities actually create a discouraging work place - This was one thing I learnt during my visit. You may ask - "Then why do people prefer to work in such a place ?" The answers simple. Its the five figure salary that these people receive with minimal work pressure. Where else do you get second and fourth Saturdays, of every month, off. Its may be convenient for the employees to work in such a jolly atmosphere; but for the common man, its a living nightmare which all of us dread to face, but eventually we all have to make that dreadful trip to a government office. Its could be the regional passport office(Gosh!), where you'll need to bribe people at times to get work done. Take the good samaritan policy of anti corruption and you'll never find your work getting done.

One thing these people need to learn, is how to value other peoples time. In my case, the inspector could have just signed the document (I had verified the document a million times) rather than waste time writing the chit. I hope I never ever have to make a trip to another one of these offices again, although eventually, I'll have to end up in the worst place possible - The Regional Passport Office.