Sitting in front of the laptop, I filled each word into the online form with utmost caution.
The words “provision of false information is a punishable offence” made matters worse. No amount of cross checking seemed to be enough because my mind, though not idle, was still a devil’s workshop.
My name was Amulya.
My inner voice: Are you hundred percent sure about that? Because I have my doubts. Did you place the second “A” in the right place?
Me: Involuntarily goes through the form right from the start by pressing the back button all the way till the first page and mind you, this was no short story.
They said the online application for passport would be easier. I think they forgot to mention “massively irritating” and “mind numbingly unclear”.
There was a provision to fill in your “police station” and it’s normal for a person to know that they have a mouth but no one felt the need to know how deep it is. I’m sorry passport office, it didn’t even occur to me that I was supposed to know “my police station”.
What is it, the local Starbucks?
It would have been understandable if there was 1 station for a couple of streets put together. What do you do when your house is smack in the middle of all places and equidistant from multiple stations! Now that’s some dilemma.
Thank god for Google.
At the end of all the turmoil, the “submit” button finally came into view and just when I thought I had gotten through unscathed, there it was, in red letters, “applications once submitted cannot be changed”.
If there is a possibility of feeling petrified of being accused for something you didn’t do, even when you can prove that you had no role to play, ladies and gentlemen, I felt it today at the passport office.
That lady behind the counter shook the earth down and reduced the person before me to a quivering mess and truth be told, I wasn’t completely out of her attack zone.
She stared me down first and with those eagle eyes of hers, scanned each of my documents line by line. She flipped through three pages and just as I was beginning to get a grip, she whipped her head back towards the second page.
I AM SORRY MADAM I SWEAR TO GOD I TOOK A THOUSAND TEST PRINTS ON MY PRINTER! PLEASE EXCUSE THE TWO NANOMETER SIZED SMUDGES ABOVE THE SEMICOLON IN THE THIRD LINE!!
Thankfully, I didn’t voice my frightful thoughts.
Just a few days back I got the results for my second year of MBBS and I don’t think I was this tensed even for that!
Why are these passport and immigration service people so scary? Haven’t you heard of a smile before? Like, jesus! Cut me some slack will you! I was just trying my best not to look like a gangster from the underworld!
What kind of rules are they? Don’t arch your eyebrows, don’t smile, don’t breathe…! Might as well take mugshots and take them in the jail setting. At least I can then be in character, the miserable and hopeless kind that is.
I’m pretty sure these are 99% of the conversations at the above mentioned areas.
Official: Do you have the original certificate?
Me: No, they are with the college but I do have a custodial letter!
Official: *raises eyebrows*
And that my friends, is enough to set my brain off on a completely diverging tangent of negative thoughts.
Hmmm.. Why would the college be interested in my papers, that’s some shady shit. I’m pretty sure if I was this lady, I’d reject this girl right here. Children these days, simply can’t trust them anyway!
Yeah. That’s pretty much the conclusion I come to. If you want to scare yourself and experience a thrill like no other, go to any of these offices like the passport office, immigration office etc and I’m sure you will get your money’s worth and even some extra dose because they were so generous with the suspicion.
I still remember an incident from when I was little. This was at the airport and I was going through the security clearance.
The police officer who was in charge waved that detector along my little frame and for some reason it kept going off whenever she put it a little below my naval. In other words, my crotch.
FOR GOD’S SAKE IT WAS MY PANT’S ZIP! What was I even going to hide there without it bulging! I wasn’t even a male! Holy potatoes! It took her a couple of minutes to realise that and I’m glad she didn’t need me to undress.
There you go, the horrors of establishing your identity. Or rather TRYING to. I wouldn’t go as far as claiming the process to be done.
So, there it was, my personal paranormal experience without the need for any paranormal creature that is. The live, hale and hearty humans were enough to get me onto my knees.
No, it wasn’t a romantic gesture.