The two best indicators of risen population in India are Railway Stations and the Passport offices. And both are apparently fraught with crowd of aspirants & migrants. I will leave the railway station aside and talk about my recent experience in the passport office. For starters appointment in passport office is a test of perseverance & optimism. Patience, because no matter what time you reach there, a long queue is already present. You feel it’s almost omnipresent. & No matter how much you try to think positive of the outcome with your passport work, there is always an iota of doubt that bothers you. Am I carrying all the documents, will the time run out before my application is accepted, will the officer be in a good mood………..what will be the new process that I will learn today and what will be the new document fact that the passport officer will unlearn today? As you stand in the queue of greener pasture seekers……..i mean literally as well as the old adage way, you realize that travelling in not everyone’s cup of tea. Over a period of time I have put travel in the category of birth, death and marriage. It’s fated. The seven seas ………only destined ones can cross them. The chosen ones could be anyone from any class, creed or society but there is one thing common among them. They are predestined. So………. you get in the queue with your water bottle(Do's) and iPod (Must), and struggle with the doubts in your mind while you count seconds as the queue drags slowly to the destination window. Intermittently your attention is diverted by the folding & unfolding of plastic bags. Funny isn't it!!! We Indians are so weirdly obsessed with the idea of keeping our important/Xeroxed documents in plastic bags publicizing the mediocre shops selling garments for gents, women and children. The sight of this people around carefully removing their valuable credentials and then neatly folding their plastic bags casts a doubt on whether our life style has really improved or we are still in the TATA, BATA & Amin Sayani old economy days.
The wait is endless, and in the heat of moment the people in queue become reformers, as they devise strategies and suggestions to improve the TAT. The employees on the other hand seem oblivion to this dire state. In fact they are in much worse situation than applicants, collecting documents from thousands of people and answering to the same silly queries and anticipation of the applicants EVERYDAY. Their job is no less than breaking bricks i say. In the given scenario a cheerful employee is a far cry. I wonder if a soft skills trainer can help………………..it would surely be a litmus test for him. I am shook off from my thoughts as my daughter’s name is called. After successfully clearing 2 queues with the black and white I was carrying, I enter the officer's cabin high on optimism . But NO............. something is AMISS. He lowers his spectacles and gives me the helpless look (I am just following the process) and his eyes tell me, “Madam, the ordeal is far from over. I will see you again.”