Caps and robbers

What I am about to narrate is yet another story of how the common man in India is made to run around in circles when it comes to dealing with government employees. I hate to generalize that all of them are these sorts – but very often you will bump into this special class only.

As in every typical Indian wedding, my wedding too involved a “baarat” procession. For this procession you typically need two sets of permission – From the local police station and the area RTO (Road Transport Office). This is my experience. The “May I help you” desk at the Police Station guided me correctly to the desk where I could seek the required permission. Based on the information provided by me, he issued a letter to the RTO saying we (the police station) had no problem in issuing the permission certificate. After the necessary signatures were made, I took this letter to the RTO where I was made to fill another form. I left the letter and the form for the senior traffic inspector to give me his signature and thus the final piece of the permission.

I think I made about 4 rounds to the RTO after that – every time returning with a new reason not to issue the permission. The best of all – The street is a no-noise zone so we don’t issue permissions for that side. Really, then does that mean all others who have celebrated their wedding around the same hotel, have taken the baraat illegally. At this they were stunned and sparked them off further to not issue my permission. But I was determined and even changed the street for the baraat. But tough luck son – you ain’t getting it.

Finally two days away from the wedding, I got help from my local garage owner who had the right contacts at the RTO. By Saturday evening (my wedding was on Sunday) the necessary permissions were granted without any hassles or negotiations. So I spent about 5 days for the same certificate, which this guy managed to get within 5 hours. Not getting this piece of paper would only mean attracting the attention of the officer on duty at that hour and then having to shell out a chunky bribe so that the baraat could happen peacefully.

What annoys me is that if the system has to be transparent then keep it that way. Take a fee for the permission, understand the case scenario and above all keep the rules same for all applicants. I wish Munnabhai’s gandhigiri just got into real action this Gandhi Jayanti.

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