Bhaago, kaku aila..

Hey guys, I'm in Mumbai..! Came over just today morning and am already having a nice reunion time with my cousins and a soon-to-be sister-in-law!

I had decided to take a train this time, a V-long distance and excruciatingly time taking option compared to a flight.. But it's worth it for the sake of saving money (for I'll soon be bleeding chips in the nearer future..) and I get to meet new people (I know, that's a TLC trademark cliche!) However, I did meet new kind of people, whom I'm not really familiar with - the highly self-decorated, working class Bengali kakus!

A day at the Government Office...

I was summoned to the passport office today to submit a few documents regarding address-proofs, and the entire effort managed to wreck my whole ambition of getting a passport and all the future prospects of travelling abroad.. Let me describe you the various experiences.. I'll try to mellow down on the infuriating details.

First things first, had breakfast and left.. Ma had asked, 'Son, two loaves of bread won't do!'
'Oh come on Ma, will be back in a jiff... Just a few documents need submitting, will have lunch together!'
She gave a visibly doubtful, 'Best Of Luck!' as I left..


I was made to sit in a corridor filled with people, all kinds of people - and by all kinds, I mean all kinds! There were people in suits, jackets, shirts, t-shirts (myself), dhotis, sarees, kurta-pajamas, burquas.. then men with variety of beards - mutton chops, handlebars, goatee (mine!), chin curtain, cop-stash standard, pencil.. then there were men, women and transgenders!

Yes, 5 of them.. Now me and a certain friend of mine have regularly been harassed by transgenders in train and other places, and that story being too gross to tell here, let's just say, I am not particularly comfy around them.. but being a part of Academia, I don't hate the community..

So my first one hour was delightful, sitting beside a Blackberry-flaunting girl, who was on IM with her boyfriend.. I started a conversation with her, figuring out we were the only 2 out-of-the-ordinary people there, amid uncles, elderly, aunts and women that we can place somewhere in between fat-aunts and irritating-aunts.. She had a totally different work compared to mine, and after an hour her work was done, she left..

Left to myself, I went about scanning the public and tried to keep myself from staring at the transgenders..

Then passed another hour, and the crowd was now limited for the day.. that meant, no more entries will be entertained for today.. They kept calling names, however mine never came..

Then as we entered the third hour, I walked right up to the 2 men who were calling names only to be shot down and reprimanded.. Every other person were in some sort of queue or in some room, meeting the concerned officer. Just me and the transgenders were left.. Destiny!

Then an argument ensued between the door guy and them.. as it grew bigger, more people got involved.. the transgenders were up for the hammering and were succumbed but to face extreme ridicule from the workers and certain members of the public, whose work was either done or was being done..

It was kind of their fault - they didn't get any stationary and constantly asked for them from the door guy.. they also didn't respond primarily when their names were called, because it was not in the proper order.. But I felt the ridicule they were facing was not exactly based on those issues..

I joined the only 2 people who were trying to calm the storm, by asking them to leave.. However I offered them my stationary and said I'll help until my name wasn't being called.. I wrote their letters, filled their forms in English and felt sorry for their general retardation.. they were at their helpless best, and that was as sorry a scenario as would be for any other guy or girl.. I guess, that's an emotion that cannot be labelled according to a gender..

However, let's return to the real issue at hand.. MY NAME STILL HASN'T BEEN CALLED and I was just the 6th person in the room by now..

I blasted through the door of one room and demanded to see an officer.. made a scene, got shouted at, raised my voice and ended up being escorted out by a security guard.. until the man who was calling names approached, 'Naam ta ki jeno bolle?' What is it, that you said your name is again?

The name's Chatterjee.. DEEPTIMAN CHATTERJEE, scum!

'Oh! Tumhar naam ta toh unek aage dekichi..' I had called your name long back! replied that guy, as he took out my summon-letter, with a broad smile on his face, that totally read guilty-but-not-concerned, 'I had read it out as Deepti Chattopadhyay! Hehe..'

Yes Einstein, and you expect me to respond to that?

It took me 30 seconds max to be done with the procedures, as I just had to submit some documents.. the next 30 seconds passed in mentally strangling that guy and refurbishing the previous situation by issuing out an enforced 'Thank you' in actuality..

And just before I came out, already half blinded by the seizure-inducing, crazy, blinking light from the tube, that was filling the corridor, I noticed the 5 transgenders were going into one of the rooms.. They hugged me, blessed me with all possible good wishes (most of which, much to my premonitions) were restricted to marriage and my ability to produce kids..

Guess, my wife will have to live up to that in the future.. raising kids like pigs!