Passing the port

Passport

3 pm. I have just stepped outside a building. It is 41 C. Very few vehicles ply on the road in this intense heat.

I am smiling ear to ear. I am euphoric. I want to jump, dance and yell at the top of my voice.

Background – After procrastinating for a year, I finally went to get my passport renewed.

Fear was the main reason for this procrastination. I was scared of our Government’s love for inefficiency and delays. (Please don’t say you don’t agree with me on this.)

Along with the fact that I didn’t have a valid address proof (having stayed in 5 cities in the last 10 years).

Turns out that I am not the happiest guy at 3 pm in Hyderabad. The gentleman beside me is.

The 5-hour wait and struggle has created a bond between us. Starting at 10 am, both of us stood in a queue neither of us aware why it was formed. (The passport office gives time slots; yet with the life-long habit formed, everyone still stands in a queue.)

He is smiling crazily at me. Is it really over? He asks. I smile back and say yes.

Post our smiling session, he asks me where the nearest zoo is (he is new in town).

I am a little flummoxed. I can’t make out why he wants to go to the zoo after completing the passport process.

Doing a quick Maps search in my mind I realize that I have never visited one in Hyderabad. I tell him I can guide him to the nearest bus stop or train station, not the zoo. He laughs as if I have cracked the biggest joke of his life.

He waves at me and we depart, both of us pleased that we have completed the task of a lifetime.

Epilogue: 5 days later I receive another shocker – my passport hard copy. Last heard, it took a minimum of 2 months.

The ministry of external affairs has tied up with TCS, India’s biggest IT company, to provide better passport services. Having experienced the benefits, I for one will definitely root for the public-private partnership model. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Passing the port

  1. Pranav you were lucky. Getting my OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) renewed in San Francisco was, actually is an onging saga. 3 visits and a full day and a half were spent merely to file my application. All documents in duplicate please! But like you I made friends, a lovely young lady went and got me lunch , a toddler asked me in Bengali to play ‘balloons’ with him! So both sides of India were on display, the inscrutable bureaucracy and that particular sweetness that is India. Ah the OCI has been ‘outsourced’ to Cox and Kings, it was fine when the GOI took care of it contrary to the hosannas we constantly hear about private being more efficient! I may get the OCI in about 70 days! Though I have the all powerful tracking number!!

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    1. Bindu masi, great to hear about your experience. I have seen mostly positives here with the PPP like the airports and highways. Didn’t know that outsourcing could cause more delay!

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