Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting 'No Dues'

Everyone wishes to show their power.  From the watchman, to the paper boy to the electrician.  Everyone wants to bask in their two minutes of glory.  Satiate their ego.  No, not everyone is like that, but you will find this happening many a time.

Go to a government office for any work, and first you have to salute the peon.  He behaves like a demi-master walking around with files and shooing you away from the door as though you were a mere fly.  Then he walks around with this virtual halo he sees around his head.  And if he wishes, and you have pleased him enough, you get to see the actual person.  And then starts the wait for their autograph on the sheet of paper you want.  And you helpless soul, feel reduced to eat the dust.  It is a moment of eating up your ego.  Of being powerless.  All this if they are they are not on leave, else, your bad luck.

I started my job of getting 'No Dues' certificate I guess at the wrong day and time.  First was the library which was straight.  No problems.  Then I tried home turf.  The murti didn't turn up in the office for four days.  There are tri-murtis to keep track of our activities.  Two murtis were on leave and only one murti left who for the time being had all the authority.  So, two days, I waited, hoping the the murti will show her face in the office.  Third day, the office staff told me to try going and meeting her in her workplace(this was her additional duty).

The building was a maze and at some nook and corner there are rooms for the staff.  Suffocating corridors, where if two souls have to walk, each of them have to stick to the hall.  Even light fears to step inside for fear of getting lost in the maze.  Our university gets amazing architects who know to use maximum space and indirectly tell its residents to maintain shape.  After crisscrossing the maze with my poor geography I haplessly stood in front of a clerk(a good one) who guided me and showed me the way through the maze to one such room.  Waited there for two hours for her to show up to no avail.  Blessed are the people who work here for they need not show their faces in case they don't have class.  No office hours.  No 9-5 schedules...

After giving up hope of getting a signature, I went back to the office and told them that finding her in the dept was a Himalayan task and hence, they should do their job and get it for me.  In the afternoon, when I went back, they told me to get the signature of the superior, and in case he requires the one of the tri-murti's signature to tell him that it is four days since she's come to the office, the other two being on leave.  Great.  Nice way of passing a complaint.  Doomsday for the student.  And then, lo as though like a miracle, someone brings news of her arrival and then there is a flurry of activity.  Files are pulled out, others clear up their tables and start working, the atmosphere in the whole place changing.  I finally get her autograph.   She did show how powerful she was and how difficult it was to get her autograph.  After four days.

Next is the superior's office.  4 they tell me is the time he comes and it will be done.  So, yes I am there at 4 on the dot.  Wait till 4:15 and then, he calls up telling he is in a meeting and will be coming only at 5.  Well, maybe his way of telling people in his office to wait or otherwise, another way of showing his importance, he is attending meetings and everyone in his office should know.  So, around 5:20 his car comes at a distance and again there is a flurry of activity.  Students waiting for him wake up from their slumber as do other people.  The office staff gear up with their files.  The head among them orders who has to do what.  In all this flurry of activity, and arising from the chairs, I am left mesimerized.  What is all this about, I wonder still sitting in my chair.  And there he walks in and looks around at heads bowed in reverence, some even saluting him.  After getting his due, he walks to his room, a jatra in his trail.  They jostle for his blessing and one by one come out, victory written on their face.  I wait, for the clerk to get the signature and give me my form, tired and amused at the same time.

Each one, his/her two minutes of glory. 

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