Read this before you continue: The Passport Story – I
Well, from yesterday’s story, here is the twist.
The Officer needs more than the norm “200” as he couldn’t see me at home. He looked at me as if I missed my duty and did something wrong. He was mad at me for not lazing around at home on a normal working (college) day? Anyway, I just had the “200” and wasn’t even interested to know how much more he was expecting. I didn’t have any extra and couldn’t afford that’s it. To start with, I argued with all my friends about this “200” too but finally I had to agree. They didn’t want me to make a big scene out of it and just go by the “norms” set.
We waited for a couple of hours and he kept asking if we were interested to “do something” to get “verified” stamp. I even explained to him that 200 is the maximum I could afford and no negotiations were practically possible. If I ask my parents, they would probably say that I don’t need a passport and ‘take it easy’. And I didn’t think this Officer was even willing to wait for a couple more days to look for any other means. He just wished I pulled out more cash and gave it to him in a couple of minutes. He was literally threatening to send “non compliance” report and then my application would be in jeopardy. I might probably have to start the process all over again- including another thousand odd rupees for application!
We had no choice but return, unwillingly accepting for a non-compliance report to be sent. We were already thinking about what would happen next. By the way, the friend with me was stronger than I was with respect to these unethical or illegal processes like bribery. Well, his Public Prosecutor dad brought him up in complete legal mindset and what can be done if someone “demands” such a “fee” for services that they should be delivering as part of their standard duty.
I waited for few days not knowing what to do. I called the Passport Office a few times to see if I can get it moving- probably verification by some other officer. The phone was never answered I still don’t understand why. There used to be one automated system to check the status which said “in process” from the date I submitted my application and even after I received the Passport finally!
Back then I used to read newspaper regularly and The Times Of India used to run a column “CM Solves” every Wednesday. There was an email address and I sent the details very clearly to the CM’s office. It was my favorite administrator Babu as CM and I did hope something would happen but wasn’t sure how, when or what. I escalated the case, and was waiting for the next Wednesday to check the update. Every week, only 5 queries would be published on the front page, though all other queries would be addressed too. I was happy to see my query and was excited that it would work out for sure!
And I will pen down the rest tomorrow. I guess my posts are getting too long! 🙂
Continue reading: The Passport Story – III