It’s a long one. Dated: 2001 may be. I was in college- BCA second year.
I wanted to get a passport; so applied as usual standing in the long line for hours at the Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad. I made sure that I checked the form multiple times to avoid any errors, reserved a nice photo of course and included every damn copy as requested attested by a gazetted officer. I couldn’t ask my parents for thousand odd rupees because I didn’t know why I needed a Passport in the first place. I guess I just wanted it. I saved for a couple of months from the tuitions I used to take to pay for the application process.
So far, so good. The normal time to receive a passport after the application is submitted and the documents verified was about 45 days back then. I guess it works much faster now and application can be put through Internet too, but not sure. Anyways, my job done, I was just waiting for the Passport to arrive. If I remember correctly, I applied sometime mid-November and was hoping to receive it by my birthday in December last week. Nothing significant but just a blind reminder to follow up if delayed.
Meanwhile, I was prepared for the unwritten rules of the system. There would be a verification process that has to be successful to issue the Passport. And this process would be taken care by a police officer who expects Rs. 200.00 as a standard “fee”. I was at college so no major source of income as such. I saved that amount from my pocket money/ tuitions and was eagerly waiting for the phase to pass through.
The day has come for verification. I was in college as it was a working day. This guy comes in at 11:00 – 11:30 am and expects me to be available at home on a normal working day. Well, I wasn’t and my sister told him the same thing. One, she didn’t know the “200” formality to “pass” the test. Two, she was a little worried when a police officer came home inquiring about me, so didn’t ask many questions. He did leave a message for me asking to see him in a Police Station near city courts, Charminar to “complete the process”. Now we know what “the process” is. A friend and I reported the same day, very excited to complete “the process” and pass the verification test. And then it would be a couple of weeks to get my Passport! Yahooo!
But there came an unexpected twist. I guess I’ll continue tomorrow; running out of time!
Continue reading: The Passport Story – II