behaviour · India · learning · life

All for an ID

 

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Warning : rant alert!!!

Friday was a day that had me tired, desperate and fuming!! The last time I was in in India and I voted, was the first time I became eligible to vote. It was also the time when voter’s ID was not there! Later on, when it was enforced, I did apply. Even went to get the photo taken – just that the ID never came to me!! 

I left for the US, 8 years passed with me never here during elections and was here for very short durations wherein voter’s ID was not my priority in the list of things to get done. Fast forward to the present… I was told that I must apply for it from scratch (kinda now like how I am starting life from scratch 🙂 ) 

I registered in Jaagore. Filled in all the necessary details. Got to know I had to go to the Election Commission office at Ayanavaram (for those who don’t know where this place is – Join the club – I didn’t either 🙂 ). I go there with filled in forms, mighty pleased with myself thinking “wow! I will be in and out within minutes!!” Yeah right!! Government business and within minutes – I must have been doped! I was told I had the wrong form! So, the officer there gave me a new set of forms. I had to have photos too to stick on the forms. I had everything – or so I thought. Boy! was I wrong!! The officer looked through the papers and says “You need 2 proofs of address!” and rattles out a list of accepted documents. I had none of those (correction – have) Then secondary list rattled out -bingo! bank statement or passbook. Alas! I had to get back home and get the photocopy. 

So, last friday…I set out yet again. Same feeling. Now I have everything – The right forms duly filled in, photos stuck, 2 proofs of address. I even learnt the ward number (cos the officer kept asking that the other day!) I walk in with all confidence thinking job is done, may be I will throw in some shopping that day! She politely asked me which division was I in! Flabbergasted – I had no idea!! The photocopy of my parents’ ID also did not have the information she wanted. She directed me to another officer on another floor. I went, waited and asked. The lady was downright rude and said that was not even the office I had to be in. She was the deputy Taluk officer. She said I had to go to Ambattur (I had only heard of the place!). She gave me a number to call which was not working! I told her, she said that was the only number and that was that.

I was thankful I had engaged a call taxi instead of taking my bike. The driver told me that Ambattur was close by and he would take me there. In the meanwhile, I got the numbers of the Ambattur Municipality office and the Election Commission Office so as to get the directions to the said place. The numbers were either busy or would keep ringing. Finally got the response from one number, the guy gave directions and was just so in a hurry to finish the call. The directions turned out to be wrong!!! Anyways, there we went – the Ambattur Municipality office. Absolutely no one to guide anyone to the right place for this voter’s ID registration! Saw the form in the hands of a couple there with a baby. Asked them, they directed me. So off I went. I was in for a shock!! The lady there literally yelled at me when I started telling her I was there for registering into the electoral roll. She said yelled saying the last date was 23rd of February and that was that. I was told at Ayanavaram that those applying for the first time for the ID, the applications will be taken anytime. I conveyed this to the officer. She yelled saying “Well, if they said that at Ayanavaram, go there and apply!” I remained calm and told her they directed me to apply in Ambattur for my constituency. She looked at my address on the form; then asked me where I lived!!!! She said I was at the wrong place. Period. I asked her to direct me to where I must be. She then rudely says well, that is for you to find out somehow… Seriously – who the hell employs government officers?!! They need a course in etiquette!!!!!! 

A man nearby witnessing this scene told me for the constituency I was in, I had to go to the Panchayat office near by about a few buildings down the road. He also added saying if they did not accept it there, I must head to the Taluk office. I thanked him and headed to the panchayat office. There they were polite enough and directed me to the Taluk office which was another 10 minute drive down the road. I must add here that my cab driver was more intent in getting the job done than me saying I was spending so much on the cab and going home empty handed was crazy! 🙂 At the Taluk office, headed to the Election Commission office. The first guy I gave my form to, started saying oh this comes under this whatever. I lost it there! I was like what am I ? Some ping pong ball where you keep tossing me from office to office? Meeting rude officers! The guy was polite. He spoke English and he asked me to have a seat. Then apologised for the ordeal I had saying he did not know the kind of people I had met, but he would help out. Then he directed me to another guy down a few tables. He took my form; gave the acknowledgement. During this time, the couple I met walked in and we smiled at each other. I knew they had encountered the rude lady @ Ambattur. I was at full flow saying how that lady was to these two helpful gentlemen. The couple walks in and they endorse what I said. The guy said ” While we are being so polite, why can’t she reciprocate?” The answer from the officer there…”you know what sir, that probably was the mistake! If you had been rude, she would have been polite!!” He also added that officer was known for her unfriendly, unhelpful attitude. Then why must such people take up office in public service?! 

One thing the helpful officer said was this. He said they were just 4 permanent employees with the help of about 5 or 6 temporary recruits catering to 18 lakh voters! He asked us to understand his plight.  I do as I did look at the paperwork strewn all over the place! Which also made me wonder whether my application would end up in the right place and I would get my voter’s ID ever?!

I have been told that this is just the first step. The ECI has to come verify my application, then call me for taking a photo for the ID and then issue one!! Long way to go before I get mine I suppose. Well, I was so happy to have just applied and when I heard this, it felt like my balloon just got a puncture!! Have to wait & see like every other thing in my life!! phew

PS: I was glad I had the sense to fill a bottle of water which was empty by the time I came home. It was hot is an understatement! I was glad I took the cab. The driver was really helpful. I am thankful to those who were polite. If this is the plight of someone who is literate, I wonder what the illiterate have to go through to apply for the voter’s ID. 

I have written about this to Jaagore. I have not heard from them. I had written that the confusion is probably because Jaagore’s information is not updated and they were giving out old data! 

PPS: I hope I don’t have to write a post like this for my ordeals to get a ration card which is on my agenda!! Wish me luck 😉

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21 thoughts on “All for an ID

  1. I do agree with you on how some of the Govt officials are so rude!!! they sometimes dont bother answering our queries and resume talking about the weather or veggie prices[ talking from personal experience!!:)] Infuriates me no end!

    hope u get your card soooooooooon….
    I remember waiting like half a day to get mine done… and at the end, they did manage to goof up my home address!!!

    The name of my grandpa was messed up on my dad’s card! 🙂

  2. I didnt have to undergo all these. I got mine done from Kerala and all that I had to do was pose for an instant snap and then sign in a few docs. In a month or two, the voters ID founds its place in my wallet. we didnt even have to go and enquire about the status.

    Well, the plight with certain offices are not in govt. offices alone. I have experienced such in private organisations too. But yes, more in govt. orgs.I have always felt that whenever I approach a female officer, I could get my work done soon and the reverse happens if I approach a male. Even with your case, something similar happened, na? Hmmmm….

    I suppose the female officers were rude, but not all! There were some who were helpful and apologetic 🙂 Lucky you! no ordeal to get the card!

  3. As a part of my job, I visit some Govt. offices like Railways. Here, all the guys in the lower positions do absolutely very little work. But you should see how the higher officials work – pretty much occupied all the time, managing multiple things. The point you made about there being very less officials to give out the ID cards is quite alarming. Especially when looking at other govt. offices and how their staff waste time, why cant some of them be temporarily assigned to these jobs? But having got a glimpse of how internal issues work in govt, it is quite tough!

    Destination Infinity

    Welcome here Destination Infinity! It is a pathetic thing to have such a low number of officers catering to such a high population! How much work can one person do?! Though I really wish they would be a wee bit more pleasant

  4. Wow! This is enough to try anyone’s patience. I am glad you persisted though 🙂 Hopefully the rest of the process will be smooth!

    I hope so too Laksh! I realise I have become a lot more patient with all the crap that is thrown on me! The younger Apar would have just walked out saying no big deal, I can live without a voter’s ID or voting! 🙂

  5. Reading this post reminded me of Government offices in Malaysia. They were bad,… but probably not to this extent though… Good luck with the rest of it!! 🙂

    Thanks Spillay! I suppose government offices are government offices anywhere! 🙂

  6. I am speechless – the only brush with Indian bureaucracy that I have ever had was when I got my 2-wheeler driving license. I should say that was a cakewalk compared to this ordeal.

    I am eagerly waiting for your post after you apply for or successfully get your ration card 🙂

    Aah…getting my driver’s license was a breeze – both times in India (don’t ask! 🙂 ) It was difficult in the US though…I was not blogging then, else there would have been a rant for that! 🙂

  7. red tape sux!! and rude civil servants suck harder. 👿 at least you had a good rant to blog for all the hassle you had to go through! that’s what i tell myself when i’ve been through unpleasant things.

    Silver lining – a rant post?! 🙂

  8. Really if i had been there i might have lost my patience.

    the government officials are famous for their rude behaviour because they know it is a permanent job. if it was any private firm they would have been sacked if there were enough complaints on them. here they know no one can complaint against them if they want their work done. and even if there are complaints no one takes any action.

    hope you get ur Id soon. and all the best for further govt. office trips.

    I would have lost my patience in earlier days. Though I must say that private firms are no better. I have had to use statements like “I could have expected this from a government concern…but here?!” 🙂 May be not all, similarly as I have written; in the ordeal I did see some polite helpful people too – just a couple of them brought about this whole rant!!!

  9. Yup we got to understand their sad working conditions too.Imagine lakhs of voters and just 6 people,that oo mostly manual work. In such a situation if someone comes to be with a work which i aint connected too I wud murder them. Lucky people I am not a govt servant :P. i have been to the local police station they had an asbestos sheet, imagine their plight when its may.Hope the govt or some NGOs take stpes to improve work conditions of public servants who deal with poeple directly, wtas the point in a PWD AE/JE having a/c rooms when the guys in grassroots live like that..

    I understand that Nautankey that they are overloaded. Though I must tell you, that those who were rude were not grassroot workers! They were officer level ones! In fact, the grassroots level workers were more pleasant!

  10. 6 ppl for 18 lakh voters!!!! um sure i’d get wild if i worked there!!!

    so anyways some work atleast complete acchu 🙂

    Amen to that! Application in. Wait begins 🙂

  11. Ah girrrrrl, haven’t you learnt the lesson after watching “Sivaji”/ “Indian” yet? 😉 10s and 50s pressed into the right hands might have worked! Not cynical; just pragmatic. Sad state of affairs; isn’t it?

    I don’t think that trick would have worked here!! 🙂 but then I suppose it is the best trick. I guess it is understandable also with the pathetic pay packet they receive and the climbing cost of living!

  12. these guys are really pathetic. hope you get urs soon.
    Am still waiting for my ID card :-s

    Keep us updated on the mail from jaagore.

    Sure Praddy…btw, did u even apply for your ID? I have not received any reply from Jaago Re 🙂

  13. Given all you have gone through, I admire you for persisting and wanting to vote and participate in your government. One hopes the next “official” process will be easier! 🙂

    Thanks Muse! I was amazed at my own persistence! 😉 Well, apart from that letting me participate in the electoral process of the country, it is also a picture ID apart from my DL. Maybe that is where the persistence part comes 😀

  14. Hi!

    Congratulations! Your post has been selected by BlogAdda as one of the top posts for this week’s ‘Tangy Tuesday Picks’.

    Yay!! Thanks Harish!! Here I was thinking I was just ranting away! 🙂 Thanks again! 😀

  15. Hats off to your patience Apar.When there are only 6 ppl for 18lakhs janata, they should work more efficiently. throwing janata from office to office will make things only worse. Moreover, in India, once you are in a govt job, you are in job for life no matter they do work or not. Where as in private sector, you will be sacked in no time.

    hope you get your card soon.And don’t get disheartened at all by these experiences, go for ration card now with A in the list.
    good luck apar.God bless
    shy
    note: Congrats on BlogAdda pick!

    I was thinking the same thing about them having the job for life with pension and all the extras though as I have written, I suppose those who work work hard and those who don’t just get away with it!
    I hope I get all the cards without much hassle!
    Thanks for the wishes Shy!

  16. Omg…i would have fully blown out and would have said who the heck needs a voter card anyhow 😛 but i think i am in the lucky ones,some people came in like around 2years ago n took my snap n said the voter card would come home n it did around 1month back hehe but the only problem was that my name in english is correct but the name in telugu(live in hyderabad btw) is totally wrong 😐
    p.s congrats on BlogAdda pick…

    Welcome here Daredaevil! Yeah as you can see from some comments above, some of them got the card with misprints, including my dad. So, may be it is fair to say that God alone knows when mine would come and if it would without mistakes 🙂
    Thanks! 🙂

  17. I too had to do the same thing like Vimal. All these long procedures just discourage people instead of inspiring them.

    It is not just long procedures, it is all the non-availability of information, rude officers, endless waits – lots more to the list!

  18. going to govt offices kinda sucks no matter what the work is ..
    all offices are same ..
    even i am waiting for my card ,… but i really dont know if there is any right canditate to vote for ,even if i get it.. 😛 ..

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