Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Passport Stories

The Indian Government, it seems, has come out with a novel, new method to combat the “brain drain” being faced by the country - complicate the procedure of applying for a passport as much as possible! If the young minds of the nation can’t get themselves passports, they aren’t going to be getting anyplace in a hurry.

My own passport had expired some months ago, but sheer laziness coupled with a bit of procrastination thrown in for good measure, ensured that I hadn’t applied for its renewal until today. This morning though, with surprising zeal and resolve I headed down to the passport office, the forms all filled out, and the necessary documents in place.

The procedure itself, while no stroll in the park, wasn’t as arduous as people make it out to be. It follows the tried and tested “token” system, whereby you receive a token according to the time you arrive and then get summoned to submit the application form in that order. The beauty of the “token” method is that it obviates the need for a physical queue, which in this country at least, leads to more trouble than it is worth.

This is the procedure for submitting the regular application. There is a separate window for submitting a special tatkal (urgent) application, and this one oddly enough, does not operate using tokens. It involves standing in a queue!

I met or saw quite a few people whom I knew at the office today. About 10 different people. Which means that it was either a strange coincidence, or for some reason a lot of people I know are looking to scoot out of the country in a hurry! (I wonder if there’s anything to be read into that?)

I was also surprised by the number of English-speaking, fashionably dressed individuals who had come to the office. A far cry from the crowd one meets at other Government offices. But then I realized that a fair percentage of Indians do not own a passport, and to a large extent those who do would be from a higher level of society than those who don’t. Also, in order to submit a passport application, you need to come down to the office in person - you can’t get a personal assistant to do it for you, like you could with some other Government work.

So I guess that explained what I observed.

16 comments:

_ð!®†ß¤¥ said...

Dude... I gotta get apply for a LOST passport.. I mean, heck, IF RENEWAL IS this BAD with tatkal QUEUES n al, I don wanna evn think the trials and tribulations I'm gonna face to apply fer a lost one.. And that means I'll hv to cancel my trip (btw, My Bro's offered to sponsor a trip to NY, where he's shiftin to, in may) :'(

Unlees U, my ragamuffin bro, wit ur recently acquired knowledge abt such situation, decide to help me out.

Arnold said...

facesmasher - OR... why dont u let him sponspor my trip to the states?? since i have a passport and he has the money ;) ??

the wannabe indian punkster said...

what can you expect from Indian govt offices?
The fact that they 'function' is a feat in itself.....
changed your template again eh?

Arnold said...

megha - kinda had to now, didn't i?? after all the flak i copped from u readers ... well.. let's see how long this one lasts.. *fingers crossed*

Lakshmi said...

they have queues for everything...but what's worse is what they put you through when you want to get your visa for the U.S.....weird restrictions....you can't chew gum in there! like its gonna transform into a grenade and explode the next second...honestly...so paranoid...

Arnold said...

lakshmi - lol... all the more reason for tht "world citizen" plan tht i've been trying to propagandize for so long now...

Varun said...

seriously dude, the US consulate when applying for a visa is a far more annoying place than any government office.

nina said...

i think its a sign that things are looking up considerin u did not have to go through tooooo much trouble...n i guess like applyin for a US visa ppl have to do their own work!!!but really the US consulate is nutty..no watches, pens, bags allowed in...u cant even leave it with the security...my friend who went for a visa in bbay saw a guy who had to give his ecodrive watch to some guy on the street coz it was not allowed in...talk bout paranoid!!!

nina said...

@ arnold: if u wanna go to the US con in bbay u have to go with lose cash in ur pocket, no wallet, clothes on ur back n ur paper...nothin else....

Arnold said...

nina - will keep tht in mind ;)

_ð!®†ß¤¥ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nina said...

oh if u goin to the consolate all i have to say is 'may the force be with u'....lol....n all the best!!!!

Arnold said...

nina - maybe i shud also rehearse "The Star Spangled Banner" a few times, huh??

nina said...

that would certainly be an added advantage...or else they might think u being too smart n not give u visa...n once u get a rejected stamp on ur passport it very diff to get a visa again later...am i scaring u?

Arnold said...

nina - why wud they reject me for being too smart?? :S

nina said...

oh u know them....wierd logic!!!!who know!!!!