Friday, May 1, 2009

The Indian Puzzle

□ Women (1~144)        □ Men

There are two windows with two queues. One for women and the other for men. What do you do if you are male? Easy one! Stand in the queue for men. That’s right! Now, what do you do if you are male and your serial number is 128? Flummoxed? Don’t be! That is the situation I was in when I went to apply for my voter ID card so that I can participate in the elections. What did I do? I stood in the queue for men and waited my turn, only to be told to go to the other window. When I went there, people told me, “Are you blind? Can’t you see this is a queue for women?” I said yes and tried to explain that I was told to come here by the person at the other counter. They shout back, “Liar! Impossible!” So back I go to the queue for men, and tell the person in charge at the window that the other queue is for women and they are not letting me queue up. The man in charge shouts, “Your serial number is 128. You have to go there.” So back I went. By this time a few other men apparently with the same confusion are also trying to ask the person at the window for women whether they can get their work done there. The person takes all our application forms. By this time the women in the queue and the famous unasked for male helpers who appear out of nowhere and are there to give free advice, are livid. A slanging match ensues between the two parties as I barely manage to get away with my work done and without getting roughed up. I thank my stars for being “lucky”. What does the print over the window mean? Nobody knows!

The agony does not end there. There is still the photograph to be taken. The man at the window does not know where the photograph is being taken. So I go to the office on the third floor of the building. There I am told that the photographer should be somewhere in the building (an old sprawling one with many floors). So there I am marching up and down all the floors with the temperature soaring well above forty in the hot midday sun. Finally, I found the amiable cameraman in the basement ready with a digital camera. He asked me to stand against the wall and snapped me in a jiffy. Some progress at last! A modern digital camera!

It would take two months to make the ID card I was told. As we learn in India since childhood: “The fruits of patience are sweet.” Indeed!

1 comment:

  1. Keep hoping!! I read that several folks out here were given their photo ID cards with the wrong 'gender' mentioned in the 'gender' column... one starts to have doubts about one's own existence!!

    Again... probably digital cameras were used for taking the snaps... maybe the camera viewed everything with a 'jaundiced eye'!!! What say??