Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A formophobic's dayout

Background information:

Compelled by insult ("you lazy, unpersevering, sluggish git") and blackmail ("I won't buy you a laptop unless you do what I say"), yours truly filled in the passport form in 2008 (winter, as far as he can recall). But his undying spirit and resolute nature saved him the trouble of actually submitting the form. It remained safely in a file for the last two years until yesterday when he, once again compelled(details suppressed to avoid repetition), dug up the documents and felt so ashamed to turn up at the passport office with the form duly filled in but bearing a signature with an ancient date that he carefully mapped the entire form onto a new one and signed..dated, 6th of February, 2011.

An overheard conservation:

AC: Hey, did you know that AKP has at the long last applied for passport? Her Alter Ego: OMG!! What made him do that?
AC: God only knows. (Sigh!) That fellow has formophobia..
AE: Formo..what?
AC: Well.. he is afraid of forms. I think it's not defined in the psychological
literature yet, so I call it formophobia.
AE: (slowly) So if he has this formo..whatever, then how could he fill in that
hell of a passport form?
AC: You can only guess. I asked him and he wouldn't tell me clearly. Every time I get into the subject, he delivers one of his irritable laugh..
AE: So what is your opinion?
AC: Knowing him, I have only one explanation. He must have fallen in love with some girl outside this country!
AE: What!
AC: Why, you don't believe me? I am actually relieved ..I was beginning to think that the girl of his dream must be from outside of this universe. At least he now is coming down to earth!

Dry facts-The chronological bird eye view:

10:05 A.M. AKP stops dead in the middle of the street. The queue before him must be of about two-hundred people - men, women, children and infants - all present to have solutions of their problems regarding a small blue book. AKP gathers his fragments shattered and scattered over the street a few seconds ago..where is the god damned patience? Although he has a very tiny piece of it, he knows that now he is going to need it the most...where is it? Ahh..AKP breaths a sigh of relief..there it is, hidden beneath the broken van-rikshaw. He collects it and joins the queue..its going to be a very long wait.

10:20 A.M. AKP looked up from his book..somebody was poking him at his elbow. Turning, he saw a middle edged man with light brown eyes, thick curly hair and a carefully maintained mustache. He had a bunch of what looked like filled in passport forms under his right arm. Noticing that AKP is awake from his 'in-book' sleep, he smiled, "Dada, deben naki?"
"Are, formTa bhorti korte help chai? Help lagle bolben, ami ei pashei achhi. Amar rate kintu beshi noy!"

Without another word, he approaches forward, "Ki hoyechhe, ki? Sample form lagbe? Xerox paben, paNch Taka kore..."

10:55 A.M. AKP enters through the collapsible at the entrance of the passport office guarded by an armed guard and a plain dressed office staff (may be) who were shouting at the law-breakers - people intending to apply in tatkal without a token or people trying to talk their way into the office without queuing up with others.

11:05 A.M. AKP joins a shorter queue of about twenty people before counter number five at the first floor of the passport office. There is an array of about twelve broken chairs in front of every counter. AKP waits patiently (clearly his patience is greater than what he thinks) for his turn to occupy a seat.

11:35 A.M. AKP sits down at the last of the twelve chairs. On the chair next to him is a short stout man of about fifty-five years of age with a couple of filled in forms and other regular documents. He smiles at AKP and says, "Notun passport naki?"
"Original kagojpottor enechhen?"
"Era asole khub jhamela kore.. ami to ageo diyechi, jani...ei to sedin amar bhaipor jonye dilam, aaj abar amar dui chheler jonye.."
'Accha!', AKP looks at him with respect. Filling in forms is a piece of cake to him..a skilled filler (no, the narrator is not trying to construct words like healer as in the wizarding world of HP).

12:05 P.M. The filler is talking impatiently to the official behind the counter who denies to accept his son's application. There is some mismatch in the date of births in the birth certificate and the matriculation certificate. AKP is shocked to watch his hero failing to rescue his own children.

12:15 P.M. AKP leaves the passport office, triumphant. It's over, and without any help from anybody.