Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i failed the passport test

The newspapers blazed with ads of all the minister’s smiling mugs, proclaiming Bangalore to be the new icon for passport purposes – all computerized – smooth process – no waiting - passports in 3 days – child-friendly -no hassle to citizens. I beamed more than the ministers. Time to get the kids their passports and renew my own and my mom’s. With NO hassle.

Now, reading between the lines, this is what it really means:

1) New scheme : You are our latest guinea pig! The post office staff supposed to helpfully supply these services looked blank, said they didn’t know what I was talking about and made me buy stamps for standing in the queue.
2) 3 days : It takes over 3 weeks to get an appointment to even apply for a passport under this scheme online – and wade through crashing systems. If you are one of the poor paupers who needs to go stand in the queue, please go the previous night, with idlis wrapped in newspaper, for the passport office to open the next morning.
3) No waiting : We waited for 4 hours, along with others who had brought tons of tiffin and tons of relatives.. Finally had to whine my way in, saying I have 2 sick kids, 1 handicapped mother (she walks with a stick – ha!) and got a chance – after the guy took pity on S, who looked like a normal person stuck in this circus.
4) Child-friendly : Niks,(who unlike the other toddlers who sat and sucked their mom’s sari pallus for 4 hours straight) ran away and got lost when his turn came, then fell onto the camera, and got the fingerprinting stamp ink on to everything else in sight, and insisted on giving the data entry operator a star on her official document. Neel sat and complained to an elderly lady on the other side, about the weight on his 6-year-old shoulders of monthly tests at school.
5) Smooth process : We needed to go through 4 separate levels, some desks manned by grim TCS hires, and some manned by boiled potatoes.
6) No hassle to the citizens : Hahaha – excuse me, while I choke over the coffee that I had to fight off 15 people in the queue in the ‘smooth process’ for!

Did I mention they also fingerprint you and take your photograph on the spot? So, I had done my hair, and put on an apricot shade of lipstick. 4 hours later, when the pic was finally clicked, I ended up looking like Ozzie the Orangutan on a bad hair day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Need a mid-week weekend

Chix and I just exchanged hellos, how are yous this Monday morning, and realized we’re both exhausted and need a holiday. Because we’re recovering from two holidays in a row, and you know how stressful that is!

The weekend’s more packed, than the 6.02 Churchgate local is. There’s everything you couldn’t do on the weekday to do, like:

Bills to pay and queues to stand in, and bills to search for in safe places, and to find to see that they’re overdue, and therefore different queues to stand in – to be told you’re too late and it’s the weekend, so come back later, since the office is now closed.

Shopping rears its head, since the cupboard is bare. There are exactly two and a quarter geriatric drumsticks that have fossilized, that support the innards of the fridge, so the weekend is the time to stock up. S, with his caveman instincts, likes to hunt and forage, and pick up another five kilos of something that no one will ever eat, except the ants, some day. While the drumsticks live on.

There are errands to run, school things to be picked up (where does one buy bangles of different colours for a BOY’s school project, and WHY does a boy need them?), and socks that display magical holes just a day before school opens and pressure cooker gaskets that suddenly blow and people who fall sick and need visiting, and long-lost family members who appear and need to be visiting…. And the list goes on and on…

There are books to be exchanged in the library, and therefore, the night before spent in speed-reading the book to return it. There are appointments with dentists and saloons and vets, and washing machines that lie down and play dead, and parts for extinct electrical gadgets to be sourced, and – phew!

And do NOT FORGET TO HAVE FUN! Weekends are to have fun, so you must have fun, even if it kills you. So, squeeze in a pub in between standing in a BSNL queue, and repairing a shoe. Or take the kids on a play date with other parents who look as hollow-eyed as you do.

And finally, it’s Monday morning. Time for the blues. Time for a break!

Learning : Don’t you think the week should start with a weekend?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

back to the front burner

To all those who kept asking me to re-blog (like that’s a word!) – this one’s for you. A pile of excuses. It’s nice, by the way, to be told someone’s waiting to hear my thoughts. And my cribs:

1) The World Cup : We all know by now, that every guy will watch anything with balls (didn’t come out quite the way I meant it). And since I have 3 guys at home, there wasn’t time for anything but football, at those insomniac hours. Though I must admit, that I’d get my huge mug of hot chocolate, get the place all readied up to watch the midnight match, and then at the first kick, fall asleep.

2) Nik’s started school : For these last 6 weeks, Niks has started going to Monstessori on a staggered (timings for the kids) and staggering (time for me) schedule. It was drop and pick-up, and now he’s finally going in the big yellow school bus, I miss taking him. He came home yesterday with some big girl’s shoes on. (Only wonder what she wore?) So, now I’ve got myself a little breathing space in the mornings, with Niks at school. Of course, his teachers look like drained out laundry after spending 3 hours in his company. Serves them right. Couldn’t they have opted for an easier profession – like neuro-surgery?

3) Last excuse in my book – is just that. A book that I’m writing/ trying to write. It’s not going forward. Quite the opposite, actually. Every chapter I manage to write, I delete two of the previous ones. Which leaves me with a backward progressing novel. It’s tough to write a book – demoralizing and no feedback (unlike your happy comments on the blog) – so I’m writing it mostly in the dark (literally,given Bangalore’s power situation).

But there it is! You can always depend on me for many excuses. I’m really good at that.
But thanks anyway, for missing me.