Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An institution mired in corruption and red tapism.

The first call was from the tentwallah, Vijayan, who said that he was erecting the pandal in front and at the rear of the house for the pre-wedding reception on the 20th. It had rained last night and he was apprehensive that the ground around would get waterlogged and soggy that would spoil the mat that he planned to lay on the ground, beneath the roof, that he was gonna erect. The job should be over before sunset, he said.

Ramadasan kochachhan, my dad’s younger brother, had called up from Nasik to say that he would not be attending the wedding as he was indisposed. I’d miss him but such drop outs are inevitable at certain times. Moreover, he and chittamma had attended the engagement ceremony. It was around a half past 10 and the three of us – my sisters and I – had set off for the village office to hand over our application for legal heirship certificate, with regard to mom, endorsed by the taluk office. I’d asked Sasi, our next-door-neighbour and Vijayan, the caretaker to be our witnesses with their ID proof.

The Village Officer did show his importance by asking me to wait out but all that he did was to speak on his cellphone which was the usual routine ones to his acquaintances, judging by the thread of conversation that was audible. After making/attending those calls, he entertained a few people before Sasi beckoned me to barge into the office. He was angered in the manner that the village officer was making me wait. Sasi announced loudly my erstwhile professional standing and as to who I was and had raised his voice in the bargain. He clearly asked him as to whether he wanted to help us or as to whether he was trying to make things difficult for us but the guy wouldn’t budge.

Instead, he was openly deriding the bank who’d asked for the certificate because to his knowledge, it was the bank that was acting funny by insisting upon the document. I’d then quietly narrated the process that we’d gone through and he didn’t seem to have any more questions. He promised to issue his certificate within the next week which he was willing to hand over to us so that we could progress it at the taluk office and subsequently, hand it over to the government press at Thiruvananthapuram where the gazette is published. It’s the copy of that notification that the bank ultimately needs! The time that is required for the entire process to be over will be about two months!.......Is this the progress that we’re making? Power has been decentralised and given to the lowest rung of the government. Yet, the roadblocks and corruption exist. Sad!

I’d to put Sasi at ease and convinced him that there wasn’t any point in showing off our capabilities at the initial stages. He’d be dealt with sternly at the appropriate moment I assured him if he was lackadaisical about it. On the return leg, we’d gone to the upper primary school to hand over the Rs.5 grand to the school’s headmistress for the purchase of books in the ongoing process of building up the section in the school library in dad’s name.

It was a boisterous lunch on return and soon after, the entire lot had gone for their tying up of things while I was only too happy to be left alone, so that I could catch up on my siesta.
The rest of the day was spent in putting things into their respective places and getting the house back in shape. Ammu wanted to hear anecdotes from me about her grandparents and great grandparents and I did just that much to the amusement of the others and in turn, richly complemented by their contribution. The evening turned out to be long, eventually but it was worth every moment! 


Vijayan was a no show after his morning’s announcement. He came in his swanky sedan half an hour before sunset getting his assistant to acquaint himself with the place! Yesterday’s tentwallah has metamorphosed into the suave ‘event manager’ of today – a change of nomenclature and a foreign touch, in outlook, to boot!


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