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Friday, June 07, 2013

Reissuing a passport - 3 or Curious case of the namesake from Bhatinda

Part 2 is here: Reissuing a passport - 2 or Advance to the rear

Couple of days later I again went to the RPO to find out what the hell was going on with the passport, and proceeded through the ridiculous rigmarole of standing in queue, taking a token, find the relevant unmarked counter, asking the people gathered which was the right counter and queue, and which was the bloody tail of the snaking queue where I should attach my wagon.

Then started the long wait until my number was called. In the meanwhile hilarious things were going on at the counter. Every person who was called was asked to pay a fine! Seems there are some conditions under which the RPO can levy a fine on the person. After a while, we began to bet how much the next fine amount would be. What a scam.

After much fiddling with my phone, and playing musical chairs, my turn finally arrived. Applause, bow, woof woof. The lady at the counter took my papers, checked her computer, checked my papers, checked her computer, called the secret service on her phone, probably the CIA as well, and finally proclaimed in an accusing tone: you took an emergency passport from Moscow in 1999 and left for India. Wdf. A whale could have sauntered into my gaping mouth at that point. After I'd gathered my wits which were scattered all over laughing their butts off, I told the woman she was cuckoo, I'd never even been to Moscow. If this stuff happened way back in 1999, were they stupid that it never got flagged earlier through my 1 zillion foreign travels and previous passport issues. And I have a special passport for Israel, those buggers would probably have checked some 6 generations of my ancestors before allowing me in. Unconvinced, the lady continued her tirade: the system says you were there, its gospel truth. Half expecting to be arrested and deported anytime back to Moscow, finally she relented and asked me to wait some more.

After another hour or so, she asked me to go to some room upstairs, my file had been moved closer to god. So off I trudged to meet some more babus. There again they did some secret consultation with persons unknown, between themselves, with their secret records on their computers. Then started a brief interrogation, father names, mother names, where was I born, when was I born, WHY was I born, what did I eat for breakfast in the morning, where did I travel, passport numbers, address, etc. And then just like that they decided that nothing was wrong, it was just a mistaken identity with another Amit Bansal from Bhatinda!

Boody stupid commoner name I have, must be 1 million of us in this country. Damn and blast. But hey, thats just the name match, surely the babus-who-know-all would not be making such a fuss for a name match, surely there must be other data points matching between us. To my absolute surprise, there was no match of anything except the name. This is ridiculous. Father's name, place of birth, date of birth, address, NOTHING matched, and still the computer and the babus decided I was the same person. What a cock-up. These geniuses really need to get their shit together.

Anyway, with the assurance that my passport would be processed forthright, I left cursing.