Varun's Vagaries

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So finally i decided to get me a passport (Perhaps only because it's holidays and there is not much to do).A few days back I made the mistake of applying for an appointment online at the MEA's website.I knew this was going to be a tough ride from the get-go.When I typed the site's address,Firefox informed me that the website's digital certificate had expired. Can you imagine that? A department that monitors security and travel permissions of a whole country can't keep it's digital certificate in order?
Anywho, I figured that since these were no slimy creeps trying to snuff out my info,I decided to head in anyway.There I encountered a form for online application,which,If I looked with my engineer-tinted glasses had a hideous User Interface that violated all rules of UI design.Still I waded through these waters.I filled up the form,Got a copy which I needed to print and all was hunky-dory.Until today,that is.
This morning I gathered the required documents and filled up the form.It wasn't too complicated so I figured me getting the passport was a done deal.I was about to find out how wrong I was.The second I entered the cramped office I knew this was gonna be a long day.Lines of people criss-crossing every which way,with no help forthcoming.My appointment was for 1 pm.At 12.10,I figured that since there was enough time (the board said enter line only 30 mins before appointment),why not take a look outside as to how the form is to be filled in case i had goofed up...
I went outside and saw this big enlarged scan of a correctly filled form for reference.As I compared my form to it,with each line,my head began to spin.For instance,under surname,I had written Markandeya which was correct.But how is a poor soul to know that the passport office expects me to put down 'Varun Vivek' (Vivek being my father's name) as my first name? So I made all the relevant changes and once more dived headlong into the sea of people,somehow managing to reach my line by 12.30.Time passed quickly after that,speaking to new acquaintance i made along the way and before long,it was my turn to get the documents checked.1.20 pm.Hmm not bad for a government office I thought. Only 20 mins late
Approaching the window,I glanced above above and there was the sign: 'Lunch at 13.30 get your documents verified before that'.Holy #%^#! I hurried to the window and gave the kind gentleman my form and documents.After a quick look at my form,he asked me to write an application to declare my city of birth,which I offered to do so.But then his eyes wandered to the wall clock and he said "Nahi Nahi neet lihun ana application.Ani nav pan chuklay te barobar kara ani navin appointment ghya." Frustrated at my waste of a day I stormed out of the building,making my mind up to catch hold of an agent.I know many people would say why go through that route?

My argument is that I don't mind if the authorities speed up thing for agents and keep the same pace for regular applicants,but when they slow down your work and you can see the agent getting things done much faster,there's little you can do other than to join that circus ;)

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Vedang said...

I empathize! I have a strict rule, "No Agents!" It must have something to do with my brahminic chingusi...
To get to the point, I wasted 5 whole days in the passport office before the babu behind the window obliged me. So, I totally get why you chose to use an agent! :D