Went to the Passport office for the second time today. Yesterday they were not happy with the papers that I had taken proving that I was indeed divorced. they wanted all the papers ; and in a way it was my mistake that I did not take the whole bundle of papers giving gory details of what he did and what I did and why the heck the judge passed the order for the divorce, etc, etc. I felt weird handing over those papers citing unpleasant and intimate details of our lives to people to who these would not matter one bit, save for administrative purposes. But then, it had to be done. Left a deep distaste in my mouth.
Anyway, what I have at the end of these two days are several thoughts and reflections about myself and about the whole process:
the government has at least in this process of passport application, become much more tech savvy and much more organised. Gone are the days when government offices meant stacks of old, dusty files, babus sitting on the wooden chairs chewing paan or picking their teeth, etc and actually not working. This was not so at all, and was a very different picture – the office was clean, well lit, well organised and the process was efficient and went like clockwork. There were people who were helpful and whose job was to actually help people. However, some of the staff’s attitude were just like the old days, grumpy, gruff and almost to the point of being rude rather than helpful. surprisingly these were younger people in their twenties perhaps. the older people were much nicer and polite.
for me some of the reflective points were that being there I realised how afraid am I at the prospect of dealing with bureaucracy because:
a. I believe they are out there to not be helpful but to cause more trouble!! this is a questionable assumption!
b. I feel like an outsider in Karnataka – hence fear and trepidation.
c. that my current lifestyle makes me almost cut off from the ground reality and that makes me an alien – I travel by car, go from one city to the other by air and rarely ever walk on the road. I shop at the supermarkets, phone order the grocery or provision and hardly have any touch with people who are walking on the road, travelling by bus, I rarely know the neighbours who live outside the gated community or the vendors around or even the neighbourhood where I live in. In the past when I lived a much more middle class life, I don’t remember feeling this cut off. It made me wonder about being in touch with reality. What is the reality and how do I define it today? Surely I have friends but almost all of them belong to the same social class and as such I am still bound within a certain category.
I am not regretting or decrying my class therefore, I am who I am today and I would not like to be anyone else now. However, for me this was a revelation of what it may potentially do to me and has done already and therefore I am more conscious and aware of its implications. I don’t like what I see but this revelation does give me a sense of direction for myself.